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Coal reserves at China power plants up
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Coal reserves at major power plants in snow-ravaged southern China have gone up remarkably as the country's railway system has been running at full throttle to ease up the once desperate situation.

The Ministry of Railways said Sunday a record number of 42,000 cars of coal were delivered to power plants each day on Friday and Saturday, and that the figure is expected to exceed 43,000 cars on Sunday.

On Saturday alone, a total of 42,695 cars of coal was delivered, a rise of more than 14,400 from the same day of last year, the ministry said.

The line between Datong in coal producing Shanxi province and Qinhuangdao, a port city in Hebei Province, a railway which is exclusively used for heavily-loaded coal transport trains, also set a new daily freight record of 1 million tons.

The dense transport services have enabled power plants to endure for more days. Total coal reserves at 355 major power plants reached more than 20 million tons as on Saturday.

The reserve is sufficient for 10 days' consumption, much higher than a few days ago.

The unprecedented rush for coal power transport came after China's cabinet installed an emergency command center on Friday morning to coordinate contingency measures for coal, oil and power supply, and transport and disaster relief in the country's snow-hit regions.

Heavy snow and unusually cold weather in southern China since mid-January has led to widespread power failure, cutting off railway transport that delivers coal to power plants.

The Ministry of Railways has ordered that all railway cars be mobilized for the transportation of coal and other disaster-relief materials only.

(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)

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