China's railways will handle more than 4.5 million people a day in July and August, the Ministry of Railways has said.
The two summer months are a traditionally popular period for rail travel, due to the school holidays. But the addition of the Beijing Olympics will boost the numbers significantly, it said.
About 283 million people are expected to travel by rail during the 62 days, up 9.8 percent on the same period last year, it said.
Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said: "The biggest increase in passenger numbers will be between Beijing and the five other Olympic host cities, especially Tianjin and Shanghai."
The Olympic soccer competition, for example, will be held in Tianjin, Shenyang, and Qinhuangdao, so a lot of people, including the players, will have to travel a lot, Wang said.
Wang Bin, an official with the ministry's news office, said: "Rail is a good option if air travel is hindered due to bad weather."
To help meet the increased demand, the ministry plans to open special ticket windows at major railway stations, which will sell tickets only to those cities, spokesman Wang said.
An extra 57 mid-to-long distance trains will be added as a temporary measure, he said.
Plans to cope with the increased number of air travelers have been in place for some time.
In July 2005, the Civil Aviation Administration issued a plan to upgrade airport facilities at Olympic host cities ahead of the Games.
Seven major airports and 10 alternatives are involved in the plan, and work has already been completed at Beijing Capital International and Shanghai Pudong.
(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2008)