You need your passport to buy a train ticket in China. You can line up at the train station (not recommended), or you can act helpless and ask a Chinese friend to buy it for you on the internet and pay them back (easiest) or go to a travel agent and pay a small fee.
In the regular train coach, passengers sit on padded benches. The seats are upright like church pews and do not recline, but they're comfortable enough. You are seated three abreast on one side of the aisle and two abreast on the other. Passengers sit facing each other like you see in old Wild West movies and there's a little table under the window so you could play card games or set out some snacks.
Just as on the fast train, you can buy snacks and drinks from girls who push carts up and down the aisles at a rapid clip, and with an air of indifference, that suggests to me that they are not working on commission and would just as soon not be bothered to stop and sell you some shaved fish or potato chips. Thrifty Chinese travelers pack their own snacks. There's free hot water, so you can make tea or instant noodles, too. And there are bathrooms, which was certainly an advantage over the bus I rode to Heze.
The hotel was deluxe and for your reference, we paid 230 yuan, or $43 per night, for a hotel filled with marble and chandeliers, and a girl playing piano in the lobby, so this was no Motel 6. The room was nice, too. After unpacking, we wandered back on the streets again. I should mention at this point that Ross and I have always felt very safe wherever we've been in Shandong Province. Ross spotted a wisp of smoke floating in a nearby street and we steered toward it -- yep, outdoor BBQ. So we enjoyed some cold draft beer and meat on skewers.
Weifang has lots of these rent-a-bike stations and we saw lots of people using the bikes. We wanted to do so ourselves but couldn't figure out the instructions....