Booking a train ticket can be a hassle in China, as many tickets are only available within 72 hours of departure and tickets must usually be purchased either at a railway station or a designated ticket kiosk outside of the station.

China’s Ministry of Railways is now planning to offer online ticket-booking services across the country, as part of its efforts to update the country’s train ticket selling system and to allow greater flexibility to travelers.

An official at MOR said that China now has highly advanced railway system, but its ticket selling system is very old.

The ministry is actively promoting the online booking project and people across the nation will have access to the new service in the near future, hopefully before the Spring Festival period in February 2011.