I'm leaving this weekend from Shanghai South Station to Kunming on the K79 train with a bicycle--a Bike Friday folding bike. From what I've read, bicycles are no longer permitted on trains as carry-on luggage since this year.
When I asked the travel agency that I booked my tickets with, they suggested that I ship the bike 2-3 days in advance, and that it would be necessary to pack it, and that there were no checked luggage counters at Shanghai South, as far as they could tell. They suggested taking the bicycle to the main Shanghai Station and/or sending it via Express Service.
I just wanted to see if anyone here had any recent experience traveling with a bicycle on a similar train, and also if you can check the bicycle in at Shanghai South? Don't mind boxing the bicycle and checking it in a day or two earlier, but would like to know if it was possible to just bring the bicycle with me on the day of travel and check it on to the same train that I was traveling on? I appreciate any advice that you can spare, and thank you in advance!
I am taking the same train, how did things end up for you?
Well I took that train and the Shanghai railway company told me unequivocally that I cannot take the bike on the train even in a box as it is too big, as such I shipped it separate to Kunming, I got my hostel to write the destination address in Chinese on the way bill and call a shipping company to pick it up, I disassembled the bike to place it in a box, I obtained the box from a bike shop on Zhongshan south 2nd road near to middle Longhua Rd metro station, then handed over 220rmb for shipping it.
Was traveling so didn't get this message. Just to help someone in the future, here's a follow up on my experience:
Bicycles are not permitted on this train (and it seems on most passenger trains since last year--though there may be exceptions.).
I took my already boxed bicycle 3 days before departure to Shanghai South Station when I went to pickup my tickets. The railway staff were incredibly helpful. At the counter I gestured at my bicycle box and the ticket counter staff took me first to one office, where they shook their head (I presume it was the passenger luggage section) then led, and eventually helped me carry my heavy box, on a long walk to a separate railways shipping office.
Though the office is still in South Shanghai station, it's a bit of a schlep from the ticket counter--It took about 10-15 min to walk there with the bike box.
At the railway shipping counter (CRE), the railway staff member helped me fill out the form--it was easy since I could show them my ticket with the destination. All in all, I think that it cost me about 110 RMB.
When I arrived in Kunming in the morning, my bicycle was already waiting for me at the parcel shipping office.
Sounds like a much better option, the shipping company: zto express, flew it to Kunming a few days after I arrived, with four issues a ding in the down tube though cosmetic, bent terminals on the dynamo. It turned up on the back of a scooter at the hostel, would have to say sending it rail freight would have been better.
Sorry to hear about your experience with shipping. In my own travails, almost all of the damage that I've incurred traveling with a bicycle has been via air. Never had issues shipping a bicycle by rail.
The key thing for me was to give some time to the process and to show up 3 days in advance.
As far as getting a bike box goes, we were staying in Pudong. The folks at the Specialized store were pretty dismissive, wanted to charge for the box, and even then weren't very accommodating, saying that it would take a week to find one. On the other hand the Trek store in Pudong was really helpful.
I added a map marker to the location of the CRE office in South Shanghai station in case someone in the future is looking for it: https://goo.gl/maps/wziYUSv2JWq
As you can tell, it's a bit of a walk from the ticket counter.
Hope that you're having wonderful and safe travels! If you think that you'll be passing through Luang Prabang, there's a lovely American cyclist that I met who lives there.