I have been asked, “Why have you produced the timetable?”. Here is a short explanation for anyone interested:


It all started when I was working in Hong Kong in 1997, knowing very little about Chinese railways. I made a trip from Hong Kong to Shanghai with my mother on the newly introduced through train – return tickets safely booked in Hong Kong. On the journey I saw lots of trains, carrying destination boards for interesting places; in Shanghai I found lots of timetable information, but entirely in Chinese. On my return I resolved to get hold of a copy of the English language timetable, only to find that no such timetable existed.


So – two choices; forget it or make one. I chose to make one, although it took a long time (my work at that time being somewhat demanding). My Chinese language skills were zero and are not good now, but I have developed the ability to read place names – easier than you might think. The hardest part of the compilation process is not the translation, but getting the trains into table form from the layout as published (which even the locals complain about!). The first complete edition was based on the service at April 2001. Having completed it I realised that it was a bit silly to keep it to myself, so I turned it into something fit for publication (learning a lot about .pdf in the process). The timetable is somewhat of a labour of love – producing a new edition takes several hundred hours of work, but I find it very rewarding. Some have called it an obsession, but surely a harmless one!.


To anyone interested in railway operations the Chinese railway system is fascinating. The Chinese take their railways very seriously – despite improving road and air links the train remains by far the most widely used means of long distance transport for both passengers and freight. It is a large and busy system, and one which is growing rapidly, in marked contrast to the stagnation or decline common in ‘developed’ countries. Each year many hundreds of kilometres of new railway, both high speed and conventional lines, are brought into service, whilst the upgrading of existing railways continues apace. Double tracking, resignalling and electrification are being carried out on a massive scale – all whilst intensive existing services are maintained.


The timetable is now established. Whilst marketing is not my forte, the timetable is becoming more widely known, with references in various guidebooks and links from a number of websites. I welcome suggestions from those with marketing knowledge and experience, although I am very keen to maintain the unparalleled editorial freedom I currently enjoy.




I am intending to discontinue my Chinese Railway Timetable website. Here is some background as to why…


I have been working on and with the Chinese Railway Timetable for over twenty years, and of course during that time many things have changed.


At the time I started, obtaining information in English about services on China’s railways was not easy. Putting the timetable together was a challenge, but a very interesting one! I did it primarily for myself, but soon realised that it would be sensible to make the information more widely available.


Until 2016 the source document for my timetable was the printed timetable published by the China Rail Publishing House (the CRPH Timetable). This was published (in Chinese) regularly – typically in April and October each year, but with variations.


As use of the internet has expanded, information has become available online – principally in the form of journey planners rather than conventional timetables. For many users this is an improvement – the ability to see the service between any two places quickly and clearly is very useful.


Unsurprisingly, and in common with many countries, demand for printed timetable books has plummeted, and CRPH ceased publication of their timetable, with the last edition being June 2016.


Whilst journey planners are very convenient for users, they are a nightmare for compilers for several reasons:


1. Whilst it is easy to analyse the contents of a printed timetable, ensuring that nothing is missed, this is practically impossible with a journey planner.

2. 在时刻表上,每一个完整的车次都被打乱成各个区段的时间和里程,这对阅读者来说并不友好。

2. It is necessary to interrogate the journey planner for every possible start/finish combination – a tall order!


3. The database is subject to constant updating – an advantage for timely provision of information, but rendering version control impractical.


In addition, whereas in the past nearly all trains ran daily, there has been a significant increase in the number of non-daily trains. It is very difficult to present this information in a usable manner in a conventional timetable.


This is an overview of the difficulties on the production side. But also, just as for CRPH, the demand for my timetable has dramatically reduced – for the perfectly understandable reason that the information most people want is more easily obtained elsewhere.


I do have a small number of dedicated customers who value the overview that my timetable provides, and I am grateful to them for their support over the years.


Realistically, for all the above reasons, it is time to draw things to a conclusion, and I am not proposing to produce another edition of my timetable; the eleventh (March 2019) edition will be the last.


I remain interested in the development of China’s railway system, and always appreciate reports of developments from the ground.


I have made available all editions of my timetable (in .pdf format). For anyone interested in the development of China’s railways this will hopefully be a useful resource. They can be downloaded from the links above.


I have some spare copies of various printed editions of my timetable, and of the CRPH timetable. I have listed these – please click here for details.


My website will remain active until at least the end of June 2021 – beyond this I will consider further.


Heritage Timetable (May 1956)


I compile and publish English language timetables for China’s railways, designed to be easy to understand.  I have been doing this since 2001, and my timetable is now into its eleventh edition.  Over the eleven editions I have watched China’s railways grow dramatically; this growth continues today.


A friend who helps me with the timetable has a collection of old editions of my main source of information – the official timetables published by China Rail Publishing House (the CRPH timetable).  He obtained a copy of the May 1956 edition, and (possibly tongue in cheek) suggested I should create one of my timetables from it.  This struck a chord as May 1956 is the month of my birth, and since the timing fitted well with my arrangements, I have done just that – hence the Heritage Timetable!


The heritage edition of my Chinese Railway Timetable has 58 pages and gives details for every train shown in the official timetable – a total of 438 trains; far fewer than today.  The timetable contains many useful features, including an index map and a station index (in Pinyin and Chinese characters, both as used in 1956 and today) covering the 621 stations included.


The timetable gives an easy to understand overview of the train service provided in 1956. 

Download Page – Full Timetable Previous Editions

FIRSTApr-01C05 CTT0401C NI27/07/200112471142
SECONDOct-01 06 CTT1001AA18/02/200200121089
THIRDOct-02 07 Ctt1002p09/12/20021253705
 07 Ctt1002a09/12/20021253932
FOURTHApr-04Supp 109 Ctt0404p15/08/20041632896
Supp 109 Ctt0404a15/08/200416331141
Supp 5S05 Ctt1006s03/12/20062058138
FIFTHApr-07211 Ctt0407a24/07/200722491423
Supp 4S09 Ctt407s314/05/20080636132
SIXTHApr-09213 Ctt0409a27/09/200916451748
Supp 2S11 Ctt409s110/08/20100832145
UpdateS12 Ctt0409a – update 2011021312/02/2011233117
SEVENTHJul-11 14 ctt0711a11/10/201106132127
Update 1 v1S13 ctt0711a-update122/01/2012151116
Update 1 v2S14 ctt0711a-update114/05/2012043131
EIGHTHJan-13 15 ctt0113a18/03/201303092719
NINTHJul-14318 ctt714v304/03/201605376541
TENTHJun-16 19 ctt616v119/11/201603585979
ELEVENTHMar-19 20 ctt319v124/06/201902388639


The table above lists the files comprising the last published version of each of the eleven editions of my timetable. For each edition all files shown should be downloaded by clicking on the links in the FILENAME column – the files can then be read together. All files are .pdf.


For completeness I have made available other published files, including the Quick Reference timetables. Click here to see them.

The Eleventh Edition-The Latest Version



The eleventh edition of my Chinese Railway Timetable has 495 pages and gives details for all trains for which timetable information has been found.  The timetable contains many useful features, including an index map, an index (in Pinyin and Chinese characters) to the 1,992 stations shown (much increased from previously), information about travelling by train in China and copyable, bilingual booking forms (including one specifically for high speed trains) to assist with the purchase of train tickets.


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