Railways brace for post-holiday travel rush

Updated: 2010-02-16 17:42
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Railways brace for post-holiday travel rush
Passengers wait to have tickets checked at a railway station in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liao Ning province, February 16, 2010.[Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING: China's Ministry of Railways (MOR) said Tuesday it is requiring local branches nationwide to be ready for the post-holiday travel rush as rail passenger numbers usually rise sharply on and after the third day of the Lunar New Year.

The MOR said railways carried 3.5 million passengers Monday, up 54 percent from Sunday, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

The Ministry said it has asked local rail authorities to optimize their transportation capacity and open additional services if necessary, especially at such busy rail stations like Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Hefei, Fuyang and Nanchang.

Rail passengers in Wuhan, Nanchang and Chengdu rose notably Tuesday in comparison with the same day last year, the ministry said.

In the 17 days since January 30, when the annual Spring Festival travel peak season began, China's railways have transported 76.39 million passengers, a daily average of 4.49 million.

The travel peak season, or Chunyun (spring transportation), poses an annual test on the country's stretched rail network.

During the travel season from January 30 to March 10 this year, Chinese railways were expected to transport 210 million passengers, up 9.5 percent year-on-year, or 5.25 million passengers per day, according to the MOR.

The week-long Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year, is China's most important annual festival. It is an occasion for reunions of family members, relatives and friends.