I read on https://www.china-travel-guide.net/trains/T109/ (mirror) the following schedule for the T109 night train from Beijing to Shanghai:

Station No. Station Name Arrive Time Depart Time Stop Time
1 Beijing ---- 20:05 0 mins
2 Tianjin West 21:29 21:31 2 mins
3 Cangzhou 22:28 22:30 2 mins
4 Dezhou 23:37 23:40 2 mins
5 Xuzhou 3:43 4:11 28 mins
6 Nanjing 7:43 7:50 7 mins
7 Changzhou 9:03 9:07 4 mins
8 Wuxi 9:33 9:37 4 mins
9 Suzhou 10:02 10:06 4 mins
10 Shanghai 11:00 11:00 0 mins

Why does the T109 night train from Beijing to Shanghai have such a long stop at Xuzhou?

  • 23
    28 minutes for a night train stop long? I used to travel on the European night trains in the '90's and a stop of half an hour was not even worth mentioning, stops up to two hours not exceptional. I bet a change over of staff or a connection and then there is the option of an other train on the same track.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 10:30
  • 4
    @Willeke compared to other stops Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 10:30
  • 5
    Same here in Europe, even day trains often have one or a few longer stops. (Not sure about China as I can only go by published timetables, never been there yet.)
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 10:31
  • 2
    It might be meeting another train. The 30 minute wait is to give them some slop incase one of the two trains is delayed.
    – CSM
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 11:20
  • 4
    Xuzhou is the last station before the running time reaches 8 hours.
    – xngtng
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


These stops are fairly common for trains running for over 10 hours. The main reasons are two-fold: maximum working time for the drivers, conductors and crews, and administrative planning.

After several disasters due to driver fatigues, drivers and train conductors may not work for over 8 hours before having a required rest period (10 hours in certain cases; but 8-hour shift remains recommended and the rule of thumb).

A shift change for drivers will be required in Xuzhou in any case.

Although this alone usually does not require a 28-minute stop.

There are additional jurisdictional and administrative considerations.

Chinese Railways are divided into several Railway Administrations/Bureaus (sub-companies nowadays), each having "jurisdiction" over routes in a given region.

In principle, the trains within the region should be run by staffs from that region. There are many exceptions and this is no longer a hard rule nowadays but some effects persist.

Within the bureaus, there are also sub-divisions over particular routes/tracks.

The Beijing-Shanghai route involves two administrative bureaus, Beijing and Shanghai.

Xuzhou is also the first stop in Jiangsu, which is Shanghai Bureau, after Dezhou (Shangdong, in Beijing Bureau).

Xuzhou is also one of the most important rail hubs in China.

At the intersection of Longhai railway and Beijing-Shanghai railway, it serves as an important connection point.

It also has facilities that can carry out many maintenance operations if necessary.

The sister train T110 (in the other direction, Shanghai-Beijing) has a long stopover in Changzhou instead, a couple hours after departure from Shanghai. Before the stopover was in Nanjing.

If I had to guess, I would say it's to reduce the burden on Xuzhou station, which is already overloaded.


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