How do train tickets in China work?
I also heard you can buy any ticket from any station in China, is this true? (ie. Can you buy a ticket from Nanjing to Beijing from a train station in Shanghai?)
According to my experiences, the sleeper tickets are the tickets most difficult to buy, while the CHR(most fast train) tickets are the easiest to get(because them are more expensive). If you buy ticket on the day you depart, the possibility you get a sleeper ticket is usually quite small, only hard seat or even standing tickets remained.
You can buy any ticket from any station or train ticket agency, but you have to pay more 5RMB as commission.
Yes, there are a lot of travel agents in China and if you want to buy your ticket from them, you should buy from the ones who resides in some university areas. Because their price is the same as the one sold in the station.
There are 3 high seasons in China where you can have long line of queue to buy a ticket in the train station; Chinese New Year, Labor Day (1st of May) and National Day (1st of October).
So if you are traveling in mid May, I think you should have no problem buying ticket directly from the station. And I advice you to buy from the station just to avoid fake ticket. It happens a lot.
Yes, you can buy any ticket from any station across the country.
I hope I answer your question.