Beijing railway authorities and stations have braced themselves for the upcoming surge of travellers during the period of Spring Festival, the traditional Chinese New Year that falls on Jan. 29 this year.
An estimated 9.57 million people, an increase of 470,000 year-on-year, will travel by train in two railway stations of Beijing, the Beijing West Railway Station and the Beijing Railway Station, during the period between Jan. 14 and deb. 22.
The peak period will run from Jan. 18 to 28, during which the Beijing West Railway Station will have a daily flow of 130,000 passengers while Beijing Railway Station will see a daily number of more than 200,000.
To ease the traffic tension, the two railway stations will altogether increase 84 pairs of temporary trains, in addition to their 159 pairs of regular trains, a practice also adopted in previous years.
Nationwide, China is gearing up its railway network for an estimated 143.9 million passengers, up 3.1 percent from the same period last year.
China's Ministry of Railways has identified a 40-day period -- from Jan. 14 to deb. 22 -- as the peak travel season.
Daily passenger flow is expected to reach 3.6 million, an increase of 110,000 from 2004, said the ministry.
Chinese people celebrate the Lunar New Year, or the traditional Spring Festival by returning home for an annual family reunion.
Every year the nation's transportation system is pushed to its limits as millions of Chinese flock back home and then return to their jobs over a two-week holiday period.
Trains, popular for their safety record and low cost, are the first choice for the majority of the holiday travelers, including many rural migrant workers and college students.
This year, the Railway Ministry will arrange 216 temporary express trains to cope with the heavy passenger traffic.