BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- China has allowed night high-speed rail service to relieve the strain on transportation due to the approaching Spring Festival.
The first high-speed night train departing from Beijing this year was bound for Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, on Thursday, Beijing municipal railway authorities said.
A staff member surnamed Song from Beijing West Railway Station said the night trains have been added temporarily to help more passengers go home during Spring Festival, the most important festival for family reunions in the country, which falls on Jan. 31 this year.
The southern mega-city of Guangzhou also launched night high-speed rail service on Wednesday for the country's Spring Festival transport rush.
"I caught the train after work in the afternoon and arrived at my home in Changsha City, Hunan Province at night. It's very convenient," a passenger on the night train from Guangzhou to Changsha said.
A train attendant said all 1,003 seats on the train were sold out.
The Ministry of Transport has forecast that Chinese passengers will make 3.62 billion trips this Spring Festival, placing tremendous pressure on trains, planes and roads.
Despite the rapid expansion of China's railway network, which totaled 100,000 kilometers at the end of 2013, including 10,000 km of high-speed rail, tickets remain a highly sought-after commodity.
Guangzhou added 42 high-speed overnight trains, mainly traveling to Hubei and Hunan provinces between Jan. 22 and Jan. 29, according to the local railway authorities.
But safety concerns over the night trains may hold some people back from buying tickets.
"It's too fast, and unexpected things may happen, especially at night," said a passenger surnamed Wang in Beijing.
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