China works to limit snow-inflicted chaos ahead of Spring Festival
www.chinaview.cn 2008-01-28 18:48:53   Print

    BEIJING, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities have spared no effort in combating snow-inflicted woes and reducing the negative impact to the least extent as volatile weather continued to rage in a dozen Chinese regions on Monday.

    DEALING WITH TRAFFIC HAVOC

Multitudes of travelers on the square wait to get into the railway station in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, Jan. 27, 2008. Some electric trains were delayed after snow and ice damaged overhead power lines a couple of days ago. The railway administrative department is working hard to repair the damaged power lines.

Multitudes of travelers on the square wait to get into the railway station in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, Jan. 27, 2008. Some electric trains were delayed after snow and ice damaged overhead power lines a couple of days ago. The railway administrative department is working hard to repair the damaged power lines. (Xinhua Photo)
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    The Chinese Ministry of Railways mobilized 35 extra trains on Sunday night to help disperse about 500,000 passengers who were stranded in Guangzhou, capital of the southern Guangdong Province, because of snow, the Guangzhou Railways Company Group said.

    Millions of travelers are currently struggling to make their annual trip home as the Spring Festival, the most important Chinese holiday, is only nine days away.

    Passenger build-up in Guangzhou has been especially heavy because the southern end of the Beijing-Guangzhou rail line, a north-south trunk railroad, has been paralyzed because of heavy snow in the central Hunan Province where power transmission facilities have been knocked out.

    Adding to the woes, seven of the eight highways connecting Guangdong and Hunan provinces have been cut off.

    Prior to Sunday night the Ministry of Railways had already dispatched 25 trains to Guangzhou to transport passengers by circumventing the Beijing-Guangzhou railway.

    Guangzhou has set up simple facilities in a few venues such as big stadiums and conference and exhibition centers, to provide temporary shelter for stranded passengers.

    "About 60,000 passengers have been relocated to these venues, and it is estimated 200,000 people will need to be accommodated when more passengers arrive in Guangzhou to take trains back home," said Yu Desheng, a local transportation official.

    Meanwhile, free bus services were provided to take migrant workers back to their work sites if they choose not to travel home for the holiday.

    Guangzhou stopped selling railway tickets and announced that tickets previously purchased could be returned without a service charge. However, most passengers have been reluctant to return their tickets, hoping that railway operations would resume soon.

    Traffic on the Beijing-Guangzhou line likely won't be normalized within the next three to five days as snow is persisting in central China, Guangdong railway authorities said.

Multitudes of travelers on the square wait to get into the railway station in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, Jan. 27, 2008. Some electric trains were delayed after snow and ice damaged overhead power lines a couple of days ago. The railway administrative department is working hard to repair the damaged power lines.

Multitudes of travelers on the square wait to get into the railway station in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, Jan. 27, 2008. Some electric trains were delayed after snow and ice damaged overhead power lines a couple of days ago. The railway administrative department is working hard to repair the damaged power lines. (Xinhua Photo)
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    China's eastern business hub Shanghai also halted rail ticket sales on Monday, after 58 trains serving the municipality were delayed during a 12-hour period, stranding about 30,000 passengers.

    Trains from Shanghai to the southwestern Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces were cancelled. The Shanghai railway bureau earmarked 4 million yuan (551,700 U.S. dollars) for passengers who were returning tickets.

    The disruptions also affected Beijing and Wuhan. In Wuhan, a city in the central section of the artery, more than 10 trains made re-routed trips via the rail line linking Beijing and Shenzhen, a city bordering Hong Kong, to reach Guangdong.

    Airports in at least 10 cities, such as Wuhan, Nanjing, Guiyangand Changzhou, were closed temporarily on Monday.

    At Shanghai Pudong International Airport, 96 international flights were canceled or delayed on Sunday and Monday. The authorities reminded passengers to check flight information before heading to the airport.

    Huanghua Airport in Changsha, Hunan's capital, has been closed for four consecutive days and more than 10,000 stranded passengers have been temporarily accommodated in nearby hotels.

    According to Chen Huiyi, a member of the airport staff, about 100 passengers have insisted on staying at the airport itself and they have been given water and bedding.

    Ice-clearing vehicles sent from eastern Shandong Province were being used to clear the airport. "We will try our best to get passengers to their destinations as soon as possible," Chen said.

    About 11,000 vehicles were piled up on the highways in eastern Anhui Province, where half of the state and provincial highways were crippled by the snow. More than 8,000 traffic police were dispatched to keep order on the 40-kilometer congested section.

Editor: Gao Ying
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