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Railway workers prepare for peak

By Zhao Lei (China Daily)

09:00, February 08, 2013

Spring Festival is an occasion for being with family and giving gifts. Passengers at Beijing Railway Station were in festive mood as they traveled with, clockwise from left, a new member of the family, something to keep the chill at bay, a large TV and a bank card (with $300 credit). (China Daily/Zou Hong)

Railway workers across China are gearing up to handle the busiest days during the Spring Festival travel peak.

More than 6.4 million trips were made on the country's railway network on Thursday, the Ministry of Railways forecast, adding it temporarily scheduled 645 extra train trips to transport passengers flooding railway stations.

On Wednesday, passengers made more than 6.3 million trips on trains, and railway authorities operated 4,714 train trips after adding 663 temporary train trips.

Chinese tradition holds that people should return home and spend Spring Festival, the most important Chinese holiday, with their families, which creates an annual travel rush that is the world's largest recurrent human migration.

Chinese travelers made more than 235 million trips by train during the Spring Festival travel peak in 2012 — meaning nearly 6 million people took trains each day of the rush period.

The Ministry of Railways expects 220 million train trips to be made during this year's 40-day holiday rush, from Jan 26 to March 6, averaging 5.6 million a day.

A total of 54.4 million trips had already been made from Jan 26 to Monday, it said.

In Beijing, about 477,300 passengers departed from three major railway stations on Wednesday, 30,000 more than the busiest day last year.

In Beijing West Railway Station, once the biggest station in Asia before the city's south station opened in 2008, more than 220,000 passengers took trains on Wednesday, the busiest day since this year's rush period began.

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