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Railways gear up for Mid-Autumn Festival traffic
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Chinese railway authorities have been getting ready for an anticipated high passenger flow during the first Mid-Autumn Festival vacation from September 13 to 15, said the Ministry of Railways on Tuesday.

The ministry estimated the passenger volume would reach about 16.8 million arrivals and departures, up 31.3 percent from the same period last year. The daily peak amount would probably reach as many as 4.8 million on September 13, up 1.26 million from a year earlier.

To cope with the passenger flow, the ministry would add 228 pairs of temporary train trips to the schedule, including 78 pairs of high speed trains running between large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

As Beijing is hosting the Paralympics, many tourists were expected to visit the capital during the holidays to see the Olympic venues such as the Bird's Nest and Water Cube.

China added the Mid-Autumn Festival, along with the other two traditional festivals -- Tomb-Sweeping Day and Dragon-boat Festival -- to the list of public holidays last year, to uphold traditions.

The Mid-Autumn Festival involves the legend of Chang'e, the beautiful wife of Hou Yi, a hero who shot down nine suns that scorched the Earth. The holiday falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, or September 14 this year.

The festival is an occasion for families to get together, eat moon cakes, and light lanterns while enjoying the full moon, a symbol of abundance, harmony and luck.

(China Daily September 12, 2008)

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