Railway Operators

The Chinese national railway system on the mainland is made up of a total of 18 government-owned railway companies (局/局集团公司) led by China Railway Corporation (中国铁路总公司), which will transition into the regrouped China National Railway Group, Co Ltd soon. (Before late 2017, 17 of them were railway bureaus.) These regional rail enterprises or bodies are:

  • CR Beijing 北京局 (Capital Region)
  • CR Chengdu 成都局 (Mostly Sichuan and Chongqing)
  • CR Guangzhou 广州局 (Southern China and Hainan)
  • CR Harbin 哈尔滨局 (Northeastern China North)
  • CR Hohhot 呼和浩特局 (Mostly Inner Mongolia)
  • CR Ji’nan 济南局 (Mostly Shandong)
  • CR Kunming 昆明局 (SW China)
  • CR Lanzhou 兰州局 (NW China East)
  • CR Nanchang 南昌局 (Central/Southern China)
  • CR Nanning 南宁局 (Mostly Guangxi)
  • CR Qinghai-Tibet 青藏 (Qinghai and Tibet)
  • CR Shanghai 上海局 (Shanghai and Pearl River Delta region)
  • CR Shenyang 沈阳局 (Northeastern China South)
  • CR Taiyuan 太原局 (Mostly Shanxi)
  • CR Ürümqi 乌鲁木齐局 (NW China West)
  • CR Wuhan 武汉局 (Central China South)
  • CR Xi’an 西安局 (Central/Western China)
  • CR Zhengzhou 郑州局 (Central China North)


All regional railway entities generally include the following subordinate bodies:

  • Cargo Centres (货运中心)
  • Communications Departments (通信段) — for train-to-station or enroute communications, rather than to connect with the general public (that is the business of the PR bodies)
  • HSR Maintenance Departments (动车段) — for train “hardware” only (some are “styled” as “HSR Passenger Service Maintenance Departments”)
  • Locomotive Depots (机务段) — for train “hardware” only, locomotives only; also in charge of railway train drivers
  • Material Provision General Departments (物资供应总段)
  • Operations Departments (车务段) — for station management and similar business
  • Passenger Transport Department (客运段) — for all non-catering onboard services (passenger rail)
  • Power Department (电务段)
  • Power Supply Department (供电段) — to supply power
  • Railway Stations Directly Led by Regional Rail Body (局直属车站)
  • Real Estate Construction Department (房产建筑段)
  • Trackside Department (工务段) — to supply power
  • Vehicle Depots (车辆段) — for train “hardware” only, carriages only

Onboard catering is handled by the Passenger and Tourism Service bodies (旅服) of each regional rail body.

Railway bodies are also separately “split” between passenger (客运) or main business (业务), cargo (货运), staff training (职教) and PR (宣传) bodies (amongst others), in particular within each of the larger organisations as mentioned above.

Very large stations are managed directly by a regional rail body; slightly larger ones are the lead stations in the operation departments. Less significant stations belong to one of the two larger bodies above, with minor ones managed as different offices within a larger station unit. It can be possible that major stations in a large city are managed by more than one station-level body.

Other Railway Bodies

The National Railway Bureau (国家铁路局; aka as the National Railway Administration) is the new governing authority charged with overseeing the railway system as a government body. Its regional supervision bodies generally do not align exactly with the 18 regional railway bodies (as mentioned earlier above).

The entire railways system is part of the responsibility of the Chinese Transport Ministry (中华人民共和国交通运输部), which is a national-level ministry reporting directly to the Chinese State Council. The rail operator no longer has exclusive planning rights, in line with a 2013 reshuffling.

There are also dedicated enterprises and other bodies in charge of cargo / goods transport, as well as railway academies and planning bodies. Lately they have been redone as mostly enterprise-like bodies.

Hong Kong manages its railways largely under the Transport Department (admin body) and the MTR Corporation (rail operator). Macao does not yet have rail services. Taiwan’s railways are yet again managed separately, between Taiwan Railway (Classic Rail) and Taiwan HSR (High Speed) and the Department of Transport.

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