Home How to Change / Cancel China Train Tickets

How to Change/Cancel China Train Tickets

China train tickets can be changed or cancelled (refunded) online or at a train station before departure under certain conditions. Changes are covered below, followed by cancelations and refunds. 

  • International China train tickets cannot be changed or cancelled/refunded after the tickets have been issued. Their online bookings can pre-purchase.

How to Change a China Train Ticket

Train tickets can be changed before departure if there are still tickets available.

The departure date, departure time, arrival station, train number and seat/sleeper class can be changed. However, the departure station cannot be changed. A new ticket needs to be bought if you need to change the departure station. See canceling/refunding below.

Changing Train Tickets Online

If you booked a ticket online and the ticket has not been printed, it can be changed online up to 30 minutes before the train departure.

If you booked the ticket with a travel agency like Train Spread, you need to inform us 24 hours or more in advance and we will handle the change for you. Any service fee for changing the ticket charged by China Rail will be added to your account charges. Any difference in price will be added / deducted.

  • According to China Rail's policy, train tickets to and from Tibet cannot be changed online. They can only be changed at train stations with passengers’ original passports.

Changing Train Tickets at a Train Station

Train tickets need to be changed at a train station if the tickets have been printed out. You need to bring your original tickets and passengers’ passports.

Each station has a special window for changing tickets. You will find the Chinese sign “改签窗口” (gaiqianchuangkou) above the window.

Policy for Changing Tickets

  • If you make the change more than 48 hours before departure, you can change the ticket(s) to any other train and any other date.
  • If you make the change less than 48 hours before departure, you can change the ticket(s) to any other train before or on your departure date.
  • If you make the change after the train has departed, you can change the ticket(s)to other trains on your departure date. But tickets can only be changed at the departure station written on your paper ticket.

Documents Needed for Changing China Train Tickets

You do not need to provide any document unless changing e-tickets at the train station.

If you change e-tickets at a train station, you should provide the original valid ID and booking number you used for booking.

If you ask others to handle it on your behalf, the railway staff can also request this person's original valid ID.

A paper ticket is made available with the change.

How Many Times Can Tickets Be Changed

A ticket can be changed only once. To change the ticket after changing it once, you would need to cancel the ticket and purchase a new one.

How to Change Your Destination

If there are tickets available, passengers can change their destination online or at a ticket window of the train station at least 48 hours ahead of the departure time of the original ticket. The service of changing destination station is not available for group tickets.

How Price Differences Are Handled

If the price of the changed ticket is higher than the original one, the price difference will be charged. If not, the price difference will be returned to you.

If you bought tickets in cash, the price difference will be charged or returned in cash.

If the price of the changed ticket is the same as the original one, you don’t need to pay for the ticket change. There is no service fee charged at stations.

How to Cancel and Refund a China Train Ticket

China Train tickets can be canceled before departure. A cancellation fee of 0–20% of the ticket price will be charged by China Rail. The remainder of the ticket price will be refunded.

Canceling Tickets Online

If you booked a ticket online and the ticket has not been printed, the cancellation can be handled online. Tickets can be cancelled online up to 30 minutes before departure.

  • If you book tickets with Train Spread, please email us 24 hours or more in advance when you need to cancel train tickets. Our travel advisor will process the cancellation for you.
  • According to China Rail's policy, train tickets to and from Tibet cannot be cancelled online. They can only be cancelled at train stations with passengers’ original passports.

Canceling Tickets at a Train Station

If tickets have been printed out, you need to cancel them at a train station in person. There is a designated window for cancelling tickets signed“退票窗口” (tuipiaochuangkou). The paper tickets and passengers’ original passports need to be presented in order to cancel the tickets. A cancellation fee will be charged by China Rail. The rest of the money will be refunded to you in cash, or returned to your credit card.

Cancellation Fees Charged by China Rail

Time of Cancelling Ticket

Cancellation Fee

15 days or more before departure

No cancellation fee

2–15 days before departure

5% of the ticket price

24–48 hours before departure

10% of the ticket price

Less than 24 hours before departure

20% of the ticket price

Documents Needed for Canceling Train Tickets

Cancelations can be made up to the departure time if you cancel the ticket(s) at the cancelations window of a train station. The original valid ID(s) and paper ticket(s) must be submitted. If you ask someone else to handle it on your behalf, the railway staff can also request the provision of that person's original valid ID.

However, if you cancel the ticket online, on China Railway's official website or through an online booking service, you don’t need to provide any documents. However, with some booking services you may need to make your cancelation earlier to secure a refund.

Refund Method for Canceled Train Tickets

If you bought tickets in cash, you will get the refund in cash. If you bought tickets with a credit card, the money will be returned to your credit card. If a ticket is paid by online payment tool like WeChat, the money will be returned to that payment tool. 

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