How to Read a Train Ticket

How to Read a Train Ticket

Although traveling by trains in China is becoming popular among westerners, the train tickets are still written in Chinese characters, with only your names in English. You are urged to get help to read the tickets correctly and gain accurate information before heading to the train station.

Types of Train Tickets

There are 4 types of paper tickets sold by China's railway authorities:

  • Computer soft paper ticket with red shading
  • Computer magnetic medium ticket with light blue shading
  • Tickets issued by the train mobile ticket replacement machine
  • Substitute tickets, section tickets, passenger fares and miscellaneous fees receipts, etc.

Normally you will get your tickets with red or blue shading.
The blue shading ticket means that the ticket can pass through the automatic check-in machines, and the red shading one means you need to pass a manual check-in pass.

a train ticket

How to Read a Train Ticket

layout of different seat classes

Important information on a train ticket includes:

  • Departure and arrival stations
  • Train number
  • Travel date and departure time
  • Passenger's name and passport number
  • Carriage number, seat/berth number and class


  • The QR code is the most important part of the ticket, as the code is used to check whether the ticket is valid.
  • Blue tickets cannot be folded if you don't want to fail the check.
  • When you get your ticket, first look at the middle of the ticket to confirm your passport number and name, then check the departure and arrival stations as well as departure time.
  • If you have difficulty finding your seat, you can take your ticket and ask the train staff or other Chinese people around you for help.


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By Sherry Liu
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