Tibet TrainQingdao's Train Stations - China's Railway System
China's railway system being one of the largest in the world is perhaps the safest way to travel in mainland China. Whether you're taking a short trip to TaiShan or a long journey to Tibet (pictured left), China has some of the most breath taking scenery in the world and the railway system is the best way to experience its grandeur!

The Qingdao Train Station allows you to purchase/reserve tickets 5 days prior to departure and opens at 5:00 am.  Keep in mind that China's railway system does not operate on a centralized ticket booking system.  Beijing's train station allows you to purchase/reserve your D,G,Z tickets 10 days in advance and  while the T,K,N,A tickets may only be reserved 5 days prior to departure.  CRH (China Railway High-speed) D/G trains connect Qingdao to Beijing and many other cities including JiNan(济南), TaiShan(泰山), and ShangHai(上海).  Slower T,K,N,A trains connect Qingdao to YanTai(烟台) XiAn(西安) ChengDu(成都)  GuangZhou East(广州东) TongHua(通化) DanDong(丹东) ZhengZhou(郑州) WuChang(武昌) HeZe(荷泽) LanCun(兰村) LanZhou(兰州) XiNing(西宁) TaiZhou(泰州) NanChang(南昌) FuZhou(福州) CaoXian(曹县) TaiYuan(太原) XuZhou(徐州) BaoTou(包头) HanKou(汉口) can be purchased up to 5 days in advance at most stations.  Booking tickets for secondary destinations, at your local train station in advance, is currently not an option.  However, local ticket agencies can book secondary destinations in advance.  The best advice is to book your next leg of travel as soon as you arrive at your immediate destination or book your entire trip at a local ticket agency.  Traveling during China's holidays can be difficult, but not impossible; it just takes some planning and simple street smarts.  Remember that you can always upgrade a standing ticket once you are on board!  Visit Qingdao Train Schedule for details.

You have several options when reserving/purchasing T & K line train tickets: standing (站票 Zhan Piao), hard seat (硬座 YingZuo), soft seat (软座 RuanZuo), hard sleeper (硬卧 YingWo) and soft sleeper(软卧 RuanWo).  If you're heading to Beijing on an overnight train, then you have five choices: standing, hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper, or soft sleeper.  The hard seat is 113 CNY and is comfortable enough for a day trip in either direction.  The hard sleeper (which is NOT hard) is a compartment that has six sleepers, three on each side and is open to the corridor.  Depending on location (bottom, middle, top) the price ranges from 195/201/209 CNY.  The soft sleeper has four beds per compartment and has a sliding door that separates it from the corridor.  Soft sleepers are a bit pricey (302/316 CNY); your best bet for overnight travel is the hard sleeper.

China Railway High Speed (CRH) trains now services most of the major metropolitan cities throughout China.  Recent plans, unveiled at the 2009 High-Speed Rail Summit, include an additional 42 high-speed passenger-rail lines with a total length of 13,000 kilometers.  Work should be completed within the next three years.  Even though China's railway system is expanding it is still difficult to obtain same day tickets for popular destinations.  It is always recommended to by the next leg of you travel upon arrival.  Most train stations have a special window before you leave the station where you can buy the ticket for your next leg of travel.  It is usually just before the exit gate.  Separate ticketing windows within some train stations have been opened for CRH travel.