BEIJING, Jan. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- After being stranded
for about 10 hours as a heavy snow paralyzed a trunk Chinese railway, Fang Li
finally boarded a train Friday, rushing home for the long-awaited family
reunions during the upcoming Lunar New Year.
"I lost much time due to the heavy snow. But
fortunately, I can get home on time for the Spring Festival thanks to the
emergency transportation measures launched by the railway authority," said Fang,
settled down in a temporary train heading for her hometown in the Xinjiang Uygur
Autonomous Region in northwestern China.
Fang was one of the approximately 160,000 passengers
held up for hours at various railway stations in Beijing and Zhengzhou, capital
of central China's Henan Province and also a hub of the north-south
Beijing-Guangzhou Railway, due to the unexpected snow spell that began to fall
in a vast areas of China on Wednesday.
Railway stations in Beijing and Zhengzhou had
launched red emergency warning schemes, the serious degree of China's
three-level passenger security emergency system, to properly allocate stranded
passengers, ensure their safety and food supply,and arrange additional trains.
By Friday noon, the last batch of the stranded
passengers in Beijing got on temporary trains allocated by regional
transportation authorities and passengers held up in Zhengzhou are expected to
board trains by Friday night, said Wang Weijue, head of the Zhengzhou Railway
Station, who had been nonstop for some 20 hours.
During the 40-day peak travel season, stretching from
Jan. 14 to Feb. 22, a record over 2 billion migrant workers, students and
tourists will travel to and fro to hometowns and holiday destinations,
challenging China's capacity of road, rail, flight, ship transportation.
Official statistics show that the volume of passenger
traffic during the special travel season kept increasing by nearly 100 million
persons year-on-year over the past decade, forcing the government and transport
authorities to impose more working staff and equipment to tackle related
Up to 90 percent of the passengers, mainly migrant
rural workers and students, usually choose to travel by bus, train or car,
according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
However, Chinese flights will transport about 10
percent of the total passengers in the long run, in stead of the current share
of some 1 percent, Wang Xiaoguang, an NDRC researcher estimated, adding that the
ratio in Japan and the United States is about 19 percent and 30 percent,
The civil flights will see a 15 million person-time
transportation demand during this Spring Festival period, which falls on Jan.
29, compared with the 6 million person-time volume registered in 2000,
statistics from the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China show.
The Taiwan-based China Airlines charter flight CI585
took off in Taipei Friday morning and touched down at a Shanghai-based airport
after a two and a half hours' flight, signaling the first charter flight across
the Taiwan Straits for this year's Spring Festival.
A total of 72 charter flights will fly during this
year's travel season across the straits, 24 flights more than that of last year.
The Lunar New Year, which ushers in the Year of the
Dog in the Chinese zodiac, is also called the Spring Festival, and is
traditionally a cherished time for family reunions.
For most Chinese, the festival is a unique and
important time of expressing and enjoying affections among family members.
However, sociologists and economists esteem it a high time of exchange of
information and various resources between Chinese cities and rural areas.