China's transportation system is on the road to recovery after
being paralyzed by harsh weather, with stranded trains on the move
and some expressways and airports back in action.
The number of stranded passengers at the Guangzhou Railway
Station in southern Guangdong Province had dropped from 800,000 on
Jan. 30 to 400,000 by Friday noon, according to the Ministry of
Wang Yongping, spokesman of the Ministry of Railways, announced
on Friday that 95 percent of rail traffic has returned to
"The damaged southern part of the Beijing-Guangzhou rail line
and the Shanghai-Kunming rail line, the traffic trunk of the
country, have resumed," Wang said, adding the worst-hit
Zhuzhou-Guiyang railway, which links central Hunan Province and
southwest Guizhou Province is on the way to recovery.
Since January 26, the southern part of Beijing-Guangzhou
railroad had been paralyzed in Hunan Province, where power
transmission facilities were knocked out by heavy snow. Trains had
to bypass sections via the Beijing-Kowloon railway line.
Meanwhile, Baiyun airport in Guangzhou, which was forced to
close because of snow, has partly resumed, a General Administration
of Civil Aviation of China spokesman said on Thursday. This lifted
pressure on national transport services.
Road traffic was also recovering, with some expressways reopened
after workers removed ice from road surfaces.
Sections of the Beijing-Zhuhai expressway, a north-south trunk
line, have been restored in both directions in Hebei and Henan
provinces. Drivers in northern Shanxi Province were relieved as the
local observatory removed the orange alert on icy roads on
Wednesday evening, the first time since heavy snow plagued the area
on January 10.
However, over the next three days, rainstorm is forecast to hit
provinces of Hunan, Anhui and Zhejiang, and icy rain to fall in
Guizhou and parts of Hunan and other southern regions, the National
Meteorological Center forecast on Friday.
The prolonged bad weather is set to hamper recovery of the
transportation system, experts warned. "If the stranded passengers
could stay and spend the Lunar New Year at the cities where they
work, it will be better. Otherwise, the return journey after the
holiday may be also difficult," said Wang.
The snow, the worst in five decades in some areas of China, has
killed 38 people in China since Jan. 10. Altogether 17
provincial-level regions including Hubei, Hunan and Anhui have been
affected. Direct economic losses totalled 32.67 billion yuan (about
4.54 billion U.S. dollars).
(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2008)