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Extra Trains to Ease Festival Peak

Fifty extra passenger trains are to be added at Guangzhou railway station in south China's Guangdong Province to cope with the increase in passengers over the Spring Festival period.

The number of freight trains will be cut to make way for the additional passenger trains, according to sources from the Guangzhou Railway Group.

It is predicted that 75 million passenger journeys will travel the province's rail tracks in the 40-day period starting next Monday. The figure is roughly the same as the number of registered permanent residents in the province, currently 74.7 million.

Over the festival period, most passengers travel to or from Beijing, Chongqing, Wuhan in Central China's Hubei Province and Nanchang in East China's Jiangxi Province.

Special trains for students and labourers are scheduled for particularly popular places, such as Chongqing and Wuhan.

It is predicted that more than 5 million workers in Guangdong will go home in other provinces to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, a traditional time for family reunions. The figure is 25 percent higher than last year.

Eight railway stations - including Dongguan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen - have started taking group reservations for groups of more than 10 workers going in the same direction. More ticket windows are open round the clock at major stations.

Guo Xiaohong, a cashier at the Guangzhou branch of a Hangzhou instruments factory, managed to buy 30 tickets for her colleagues yesterday. "It was impossible for me to buy so many tickets at once at the railway station," she said.

The provincial department of labour and social security has required all employers to refrain from hiring new workers from other provinces to ease the huge pressure on the transportation system caused by the enormous passenger flow after the festival.

(China Daily January 21, 2002)

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