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Millions on the move at post-festival travel peak
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The start of China's post-Spring Festival travel peak proved a relatively smooth affair as no major traffic problems were reported on Tuesday at a time when millions were returning to their place of work.

The situation was in stark contrast prior to the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year starting on February 7 when millions of people trying to get home were stranded at railway stations, airports and on the roads after heavy snow and icy rain hit the country's south.

The Ministry of Railways said snow and ice storms in south China had prolonged this year's post-Spring Festival travel peak, which may last to Saturday. Another travel peak is expected on Feb. 21 as most migrant workers will return to work after the Lantern Festival.

Post-Spring Festival railway traffic peak saw more than 5 million passengers on the last day of last year's holiday and more were expected this year, a Ministry of Railways spokesperson said on Monday.

More than 700 additional trains were thrown into operation by the Ministry of Railways to cope with the peak of railway traffic on Tuesday.

The travel rush is also seen on the roads, with 53.28 million journeys expected to be made on Tuesday. All the roads linking different provinces have resumed traffic and there is no vehicles stranded on the national artery linking Beijing and Zhuhai City of Guangdong, which was paralyzed by the snow before the holiday.

Meanwhile, air traffic is busy too. China Central Television said 660,000 people are expected to fly on the day.

In the southern city of Guangzhou, where more than one million rail passengers were stranded by the weather before the holiday, the number of outbound passengers on Tuesday was distinctly more than in normal years as many had instead chosen to go home after the break.

Guangzhou Railway Station handled 88,600 departing passengers and 175,600 inbound passengers. Another 110,000 passengers went through the city's airport.

Beijing Western Railway Station, the largest station in the capital, expected more than 140,000 arrivals on Tuesday, up sharply from 60,000 on Sunday.

The Beijing Capital International Airport saw a steady passenger volume of 110,000 in each of the past two days. The figure was expected to hit 170,000 on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Shanghai's two railway stations were expected to handle 145,000 departures and 150,000 arrivals on Tuesday. The city also increased its bus services and transported 20,000 passengers on the day.

(Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2008)

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