The Beijing Railway Transport Court ordered a railway authority on Monday to remove smoking areas and smoking-related facilities on slow trains, Tuesday's China Daily reported.
The order was given to the Harbin Railway Bureau which operates train K1301 after a female passenger surnamed Li sued the bureau last year.
Li found many passengers smoking between the carriages when she travelled from Beijing to Tianjin on train K1301 in June last year. She complained many times but got no useful response.
The lawsuit was heard in December.
Li asked the court to order the railway bureau to remove its smoking zones and ashtrays on the train. In addition, she sought for compensation for her ticket of 102.5 yuan (around 16 U.S. dollars), 3,000 yuan for legal expenses and 1 yuan for her mental suffering.
Her main complaint was supported by the court. According to the verdict, the railway bureau violated a passenger transport regulation in which train operators are required to provide a traveling environment for passengers that ensures transport safety.
"Passenger's rights to stay healthy in coaches, we believe, is more important than the rights of smokers," the verdict was cited as saying by the report.
However, Li did not prove that she was harmed by the smoking, "so the bureau does't need to pay the compensation," the court said.
Smoking is prohibited on high-speed trains, but not on ordinary slow trains in China.
"The case can be considered the country's first lawsuit in which an ordinary train was ordered to prohibit smoking," said Jiang Yuan, deputy director of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control.
Jiang added that the ruling would also contribute to smoking control in other public places.