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Passengers to be home for holiday
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With tears in her eyes, a woman runs to catch the train at Guangzhou railway station yesterday that will finally take her home for Spring Festival. The Beijing-Guangzhou trunk railway is gradually resuming operations after widespread disruptions and power shortages caused by the snowy weather. Liu Dawei


Railway officials yesterday vowed to transport all passengers stranded in Guangdong province back to their families before the eve of the lunar new year on Wednesday.


Ministry of Railways spokesman Wang Yongping said in an online interview yesterday about 2 million passengers needed to be transported back in five days.


"We will operate 400 trains on the Beijing-Guangzhou and Beijing-Kowloon lines each day starting today, so that 400,000 passengers can leave the province each day," he said.


The north-south arterial railway between Beijing and Guangzhou had been paralyzed for close to a week after heavy snow and ice disrupted power supplies.


The railway resumed operations on Wednesday evening following repairs to the network, officials said.


By yesterday morning, 51 passenger trains started running again toward the northern regions and 43 heading south resumed operations, the ministry said.


The ministry has also arranged for more detours on disrupted lines, with 436 trains carrying more than 900,000 passengers taking other routes by Wednesday evening.


Crowds remain at Guangzhou railway station but they are said to be in reasonable spirits.


"The order in the square of the station has improved a lot, compared with two days ago," Liu Quanjin, a migrant worker from Sichuan province, told China Daily yesterday.


After being stuck at the station for two days, Liu, his wife and 4-year-old daughter boarded their train yesterday and headed back home for the lunar new year.


Railway stations in the province, which stopped selling tickets on Jan 24 because of the disruptions, will resume sales soon, officials said.


At Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, normal operations are resuming with fewer flights cancelled or delayed, officials said yesterday.


More than 50,000 passengers had left Guangzhou for their homes as of yesterday, according to airport figures.


Roads reopened


Almost all highways closed due to snow reopened yesterday, except for those in Guizhou province, officials said.


One section of the Beijing-Zhuhai highway in Hunan province reopened, but the section in the northern part of Guangdong remains blocked, the Ministry of Communications said.


Vehicles were encouraged to take an alternate route through the neighboring Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to Guangdong.


Passage fees on a detour route will be exempted, the authorities said.


(China Daily February 1, 2008)


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