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Rail peak to start on January 23
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China's rail peak season for the lunar New Year is expected to rise 8.3 percent from a year ago with a traffic flow of 178.6 million passengers from January 23 to March 2, the Ministry of Railways said today.

The 40-day railway peak period is the world's biggest population mobilization and the number of people traveling for the Spring Festival is almost equivalent to the population of Brazil.

The Spring Festival is the most important holiday for Chinese and falls on February 7 this year. Many migrant workers get home for family gatherings only once a year during the Spring Festival, the People's Daily said on its Website today.

Big crowds are expected in major transport hubs in big cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai in the first 15 days of the peak because of swarms of tourists and home-bound flows of migrant workers and students, the report said.

In the next 25 days, passenger flow will mainly be dense in cities like Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Nanchang, Hefei and Fuyang in southwest and central China as migrants head back for work after the holidays.

The Ministry of Railways said it will arrange 311 pairs of extra trains.

China's railways transport more than three million people on average every day, and the number climbs to 4.5 million during the Spring Festival peak season. In big cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuchang and Chengdu, trains transport about 100,000 passengers every day, according to previous stories.

Meanwhile, the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top pricing body, said in a report in November that train fares are likely to rise in the peak season as costs surge with crude oil prices continually hitting new highs.

China raised the prices of gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel by 500 yuan (US$68.49) a ton last July because of rising oil prices. Crude rose to a record US$100 a barrel yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

(Shanghai Daily January 3, 2008)


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