When taking a train in China, it may be important to understand the baggage regulations of China Railway. This will help you travel smoothly, and save time for unnecessary checking and explaining at the station.

To make sure we can explain everything clearly, we’ve listed all the situations that you may encounter related to baggage issues. So here is a quick navigation for you to jump to your interested part:

Alternatively, you don’t need to waste your time to find your answer by reading over this whole article. You can directly send us a FAQ on our China Train Booking app to get the professional suggestions according to your actual situation within 2 hours.

China Train luggage - Carry-On Baggage Allowances

Your carry-on baggage will be checked when having the security check before entering the station building. However, the station staff won’t be so strict as to measure whether your baggage is absolutely within the limits, unless your baggage is really exceptionally big or heavy.

The carry-on baggage allowance for high-speed (named with D/C/G) and normal-speed trains (named with K/Z/T/numbers) are basically the same.

  • Baggage weight: 20 kg/adult and 10 kg/child
  • Baggage shape: For high-speed trains, the length, width and height of each piece of baggage cannot be over 130cm respectively; for normal-speed trains, cannot be over 160cm; rod-shaped baggage cannot be over 200cm.
  • Wheelchair: No weight/size limits

For more detailed information, please refer to the illustration below, China Train Baggage Weight and Size Limits:

Chinese train carry-on baggage allowance
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Prohibited and Limited Carry-On Baggage

To make sure safety, China’s public security check is very strict. Therefore, when plan to take a train in China, it is recommended to learn what things are forbidden to take on trains, and what things are limited.

If passengers are found with prohibited items in their carry-on baggage, they will be denied permission to board. If passengers are found with illegal items (guns, biochemical weapons,...), there will be legal intervention intervened by public security or other related departments.

Prohibited items:
  • Bicycles
  • Sharp or dangerous items: any type of gun (including imitation guns), bullets, knives (including kitchen and fruit knives), weapons of any kind, scissors, axes, tools for self-defense, etc.
  • Explosives: bombs, grenades, fireworks, medical and industrial alcohol, loose-packed drinking alcohol, etc.
  • Smelly and pungent items (including durian and other strong-smelling food)
  • Strong magnetic material that may influence the railway signals
  • Inflammable items: ethyl alcohol, hydrogen, gasoline, oil paint, etc.
  • Toxic, radioactive, dangerous items: pesticides, vitriol, radioisotopes, mercury, etc.
  • Live animals (except guide dogs)
  • Corrosives: mercury, chemical acids
Limited items:
  • Matches (≤ 2 boxes)
  • Lighters (≤ 2)
  • Nail polish (≤ 20ml)
  • Pressured containers such as hairspray (≤ 120ml)
  • Drinking alcohol (≤ 6 bottles not more than 500 ml each; only 2 bottles if the alcohol content is over 50%; the bottles must be unpacked)
  • Cigarettes (≤ 50 cartons)

If you have any remaining questions about baggage allowance or other policies of China Railway, please ask us via the FAQ column on our China Train Booking app to get free personal consultation.

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Where to Leave My Baggage on a Train

When On High-Speed Trains (G/D/C-trains)

Baggage space is limited on high-speed trains, and if you board the train late, the space may already be taken. So if possible, it may be wise to travel lightly when taking high-speed trains. If you have to carry a lot of baggage, you are recommended to line up early and be one of the first on the train.

There are two main areas for leaving your baggage in each carriage: baggage racks and baggage cabinets.

1. Baggage racks — for small baggage with valuables
There are baggage racks overhead on both sides of each carriage, designed for suitcases less than 24 inches. It’s probably better to put any baggage with valuables on the baggage racks, where you can always keep an eye on it.

2. Baggage cabinets — for large baggage
Trains are equipped with baggage cabinets at the joints between carriages, designed for large (28-inch) baggage. Each cabinet has several compartments for storing large baggage.

the place to place baggage on Chinese high-speed trains

When On Normal-Speed Trains (T/K/Z-trains, or number-only trains)...

On seat carriages, there are two main places to put your baggage: baggage racks and the space under the seat. Hopefully the following picture will explain everything clearly:

the place to place baggage on hard seat carriages of normal-speed train

On sleeper carriages, there are three main places to leave your baggage: baggage racks beside upper berths, the space under each lower berth and the space under the small desk in each compartment.

The following picture shows how large these spaces are:

the place to place baggage on hard sleeper carriages of normal-speed train

Tips for train travelers:

  1. If you are travelling alone, you are recommended to carry your wallet or other valuables with you when using the train’s toilet.
  2. If you are taking an overnight sleeper train, it is wise to keep your valuables on the berth with you. Don’t forget to bring them with you the next morning!
  3. Your baggage is required to fit safely in the baggage racks ,and loose items (such as bottles or folding umbrellas) need to be to repacked after checking.
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Left-Baggage Service

The left baggage service office

If you wish to leave the station for a while and don’t want to bring your cumbersome baggage with you, left-baggage service would be your best option. Passengers often use this service when they have to wait a couple of hours before transferring to another train, so they can go for an uncluttered stroll in the transfer city.

The left baggage offices are generally located near the security checks or at the side of the station; you can ask station staff where they are:
“ 您好, 请问车站里的行李寄存处在哪里?”
“ Hello, where is the left-luggage service in this station? ”

Steps of storing your baggage at train stations:

  1. Give your baggage to the office clerk, and he/she will open your baggage to check the things inside.
  2. If everything is fine, the clerk will tell you their working hours and you will get a receipt.
  3. Use the receipt to collect your baggage and pay the service fee.

Still have questions or want to learn whether your departure/arrival station has a baggage storage office? Why not send us an FAQ on the app and get the answer for free!

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Baggage Porters

baggage porter

A Red Cap Porter

Baggage porters are called “Red Cap Porters”(小红帽) in China because they generally wear a red cap or a red waistcoat , and you can find them in front of the station or in the waiting area.

The porters can carry the baggage for you and lead you to the fast channel to board the train, so that you can get on train ahead of other passengers.
They usually charge 10 yuan for each piece of luggage.

Further reading: How to Board Trains in China

Language helper:
  • 你好,请问红帽子搬运服务在哪?
    ( Excuse me, could you please tell me where the baggage porters can be found? )
  • 你好,搬运这些行李一共多少钱?
    ( Hi, how much would you charge for carrying this entire baggage? )
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Baggage Consignments

Since the amount of carry-on baggage is restricted, travelers with excess baggage are recommended to have their baggage consigned.

There are two ways of consigning your baggage at the station: use China Railway’s checked baggage service or use China Railway Express (Chinese: 中铁快运).

1. China Railway’s Checked Baggage Service

Just like an airline, China Railway offers a checked baggage consignment service if your baggage is overweight.
Usually, your consigned baggage will travel on the same train with you. If you take a high-speed train, however, your baggage will be taken onto another train and you will need to pick it up at a specified time.

Consignment Allowance:

  • Baggage weight: at most 50 kg
  • Size limit: It must be greater than 0.01 cubic meters(approx. 0.35 cubic ft) and it must fit into a carriage (2m high and 1m wide)
  • Forbidden items: weapons,bullets, knives, bombs, grenades, fireworks
  • Live animals: at most 20 kg
  • When filling in the form, if you want to consign anything valuable (jewelry, currency securities, cultural relics, pets, etc), you can opt to have an escort service. An extra charge will be incurred to ensure your baggage is safe, but China Railway will be responsible if anything goes wrong.

Steps of consigning your baggage by checked baggage service:

  1. Find the Baggage Consignment Office and submit your request. You need to show your train ticket.
  2. Fill a consignment form and pay the fee.
  3. After you finish step 2, you will receive a receipt, to be used for collecting your baggage. If your baggage is lost or damaged, you will need to produce the receipt.
  4. Receive a receipt for collecting your baggage. (If your baggage is lost or damaged, you will need to produce the receipt.)
  5. Receive a call from the Baggage Consignment Office after the baggage arrives. (Your baggage can be kept for 3 days free of charge)

Things to Notice:

  1. Your baggage can be kept for 3 days free of charge at the Baggage Consignment Office. An extra fee will be charged if you collect your baggage later than this.
  2. Please keep your receipt carefully. If you lose it, to recover your baggage you will need to show your passport, a list of items and a letter of assurance from the original station, which is very troublesome.

2. China Railway Express (中铁快运)

China Railway Express is a national logistics company in China, usually located beside or at the station.

There are 4 delivery modes from which to choose: same-day delivery, next-day delivery, next-morning delivery, and third-day delivery. The steps for consigning and collecting baggage via China Railway Express is almost the same with China Railway’s Checked Baggage Service.

However, please note that not all (especially small) train stations in China have consignment service or China Railway Express. So alternatively, you can also use private Chinese logistics companies to consign your baggage. Just give them a call and they can go to your hotel/domicile to pack your baggage and deliver it right to your address. Here are some popular express companies in China: SF Express (顺丰快递, highly recommended) , Shentong Exprss (申通快递), Zhongtong Express (中通快递), and Yuantong Express (圆通快递). You can Google their official websites to obtain their contact information.

And you are welcome to get your personal consultation service for free by using our China Train Booking app’s FAQ column!

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How to Take a Bike on the Train

According to the baggage regulations of China Railway, passengers are not allowed to take bikes with them on trains. So please consign your bike via one of the two baggage consignment methods we’ve mentioned above.

Still have queries? We are always ready to help you for free!

Download China Train Booking→Click “More”→”Questions and Suggestions”→Send us a FAQ; on working days, your question will be answered within 2 hours; on rest days, within 12 hours.

Further Reading