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Weather puts rail system to test (3)

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)

08:33, January 16, 2012

Gang Xiaoli, a Beijing resident, said: "I have just discovered the convenience and relaxation of high-speed rail travel. Pray! Please do not go wrong."

But as rain and snow are forecast for the next few days, the high-speed rail system could face more harsh tests.

Yang Guiming, top weather forecaster for the National Meteorological Center, said that in the coming week, parts of the north will be hit by heavy fog and snow, while regions in the south will see heavy rain.

"Though the weather will not be as bad as during the Spring Festival holiday in 2008 and 2010, the disruption to transport can't be ignored," he said.

The railway network and highways were crippled during the 2008 Spring Festival by the worst weather in at least five decades and millions were left stranded.

Hu Yadong, deputy minister of railways, said earlier that the railway system, which is expected to handle 235 million trips in the 40 days of the travel peak, or 5.88 million a day, has learned its lesson.

The measures include preparing 500 diesel locomotives on trunk lines, in case weather disrupts the power supply for electric and bullet trains, and putting 1,000 electricity generators on emergency standby.

Traffic surged over the weekend, as the railway system estimated there would be 6 million passenger trips on Sunday, with more to come during the following six days.

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