179 million to travel by train during Spring Festival

By Shi Xi (Chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2008-01-04 16:23

Some 178.6 million passengers are expected to travel by train in the upcoming Spring Festival travel peak starting January 23, the Ministry of Railways said on Wednesday.

That figure is roughly equivalent to the population of Brazil.

Spring Festival, the lunar New Year, is the most important festival for Chinese and an occasion for family gathering, like the Thanksgiving in western countries. It falls on February 7 this year.

The travel season, dubbed as the largest annual migration in the world, runs until March 2. The train is the major means of transportation by Chinese for long-distance travel.

To cope with the increase in passenger numbers, the railway ministry will add 311 additional trains to its current capacity.

Big cities are expected to face more strains, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, as Chinese farmers flock to find better-paying jobs.

Students are also a major force in the migration as they leave school to join their family for the reunion. To facilitate their travel, the ministry will provide them with round-trip tickets.

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