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Beijing-Guangzhou railway 'basically' normal
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A railway station in southern China's Guangzhou city is crowded with stranded passengers on Wednesday, January 30, 2008. [Photo: Xinhua]

Workers clean up an exhibition hall to accommodate stranded passengers in southern China's Guangzhou city on Wednesday, January 30, 2008. [Photo: Xinhua]

Traffic on the Beijing-Guangzhou railway line has "basically" returned to normal, a spokesman of the Ministry of Railways announced.

Transport capacity has been greatly restored and the railway authorities are doing their best to send hundreds of thousands of stranded travelers across the country on their way home for next week's Spring Festival, Wang Yongping, the ministry's spokesman, said last night, China News Service reported on Thursday.

About 500,000 people had camped out at the plaza of Guangzhou Railway Station in Guangdong Province over the last few days as the worst snowfall in five decades cut off sections of the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway Line.

Still, long delays are likely to continue in the provinces of Hunan, Guizhou, Jiangxi and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region as weather forecasters said blizzards will sweep across those areas in the next three days, the report said.

Railway departments are trying to get damaged electricity networks and facilities repaired as soon as possible so that more railway lines can return to normal operation, Wang said.

Since mid January, severe winter weather has ravaged central, southern and eastern parts of China, where mild winters are common.

Snowstorms have killed at least 71 people, paralyzed transport and coal shipments, and led to massive crowds at railway stations and airports. The power supply has been reduced in almost half of the country's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.

(CRI January 31, 2008)


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