Taking a Train in China

Booking trains in China is a bit complicated.  Best is to book through a tour operator or from a Travel Agent in advance.  As you will see some popular routes are booked in advance up to 60 days before by local Chinese.  Around Chinese holidays train tickets are very difficult at best if not booked well in advance.  There are several kinds of trains.  G-trains are the fastest going 185 mph with few stops.  The next is a D-train which has more stops.  Then a T-train has the most trains on secondary routes.  The K-trains are the slowest with many stops.  Examples of price and speed are for example:   Beijing  to Xian:  G trains take 5.5 hours and cost about $145 and run during the day.  T-trains run at night and take 14 hours but cost about $75.  There is one Z-train that costs $70 and takes  11.5 hours.  The problem is that it arrives in Xian at 3:25 in the morning after leaving Beijing the day before at  mid afternoon..  T trains arrive at 5:00 in the morning.  So often it  is   (continue below)Trains0002Trains0001Lhasa-Train0004Breakfastsbest to take a G train during the day.  Prices are current without commission and are based on First Class tickets.  Second class saves a bit but smoking is allowed and not as comfortable.  Sleepers are 4 to a compartment.  Two uppers and two lowers.  The uppers before going to sleep normally sit  on the lower bunk.  Mixed sexes are in each compartment.  The Z-trains between Beijing and Xian have Private cars for two people but there are only a few of these and usually only one per car.  The very fast G-trains are ultra modern and extremely smooth and worth the  money.  The negative is that train stations are extremely crowded.  If you are on a guided tour the guides help you.  Signs are all in English/Chinese however few people in the train stations speak English.   For more information on taking trains including the Tibet trains you may email me at:   interlak@eskimo.com   My name is Dave.