|People carrying luggages head home in the snow at the Jiujiang Railway Station in Jiujiang, east China's Jiangxi Province, Feb. 8, 2013. Chinese people are rushing back home to spend the Spring Festival with family members. (Xinhua/Yan Ping)
BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- More than 3.54 million people are heading home by train on Saturday, the eve of Chinese Spring Festival and also the first day of the 7-day holiday, according to the Ministry of Railways.
The latest statistics from the ministry show that 224 temporary trains will be added on Saturday.
On Friday, the national railway system operated 4,609 trains, including 518 temporary trains, carrying 6.11 million passengers.
Spring Festival means the world's largest annual migration in China. This year's peak travel season kicked off on Jan. 26 and will last for 40 days, with 3.41 billion trips expected.
He Jianzhong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transport, said earlier that 840,000 coaches will participate in the nationwide transportation and 13,000 ships have also been arranged to carry up to 700,000 per day.
China's airlines adopted a similar approach by increasing the combined transport capacity to handle 35.5 million journeys, up 4.9 percent from the same period last year.
During the 40-day period, the country's rail network is expected to handle 225 million trips, while long-distance buses will see up to 3.1 billion passengers. The combined figure accounts for 99 percent of the overall national capacity.
Spring Festival, the most important Chinese holiday for family reunions, falls on Feb. 10 this year, making the holiday travel period span from Jan. 26 to March 6.