I just did this for the first time and am wondering if anyone has managed to use their ARC no. to book with. I tried with my new 10-digit no. and the system complained that the ID no. was invalid.
I went to railway.hinet.net, clicked on the English button, and then found I had to provide the number of the train. I couldn’t find any schedules online, so I decided to go to the train station and buy the tickets in person - you can give them approximate times of departure and they’ll find the best deal for you, after all.
I went on a Thursday and said I wanted to buy a ticket for the following Friday, and was told they will only sell advance tickets for Fridays on Friday, although you can book 2 weeks in advance if you go online or via the phone (!).
So I bought a railway schedule and went home, got online, and realised that the English booking form only allows for passport identification, whereas the Chinese form asks for an ID no. So I tried booking in Chinese but the system didn’t like my ARC no., so I did an English one with my passport. When I went back on Friday to collect them tickets, the counter didn’t even care to check my passport, just asked me for the number I’d used to book with and sold me the tickets…!
I actually asked whether I’d be able to get seats with these tickets…the counter guy looked at me funny and said that if you can book them it means that you automatically get seats.