02/03/2016, 18.51
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New Year paralyses Guangzhou station with 100,000 people stuck waiting for a train

Hordes of passengers swamp the main railway station in China’s southern metropolis because bad weather has led to major delays and cancellations. Thousands of passengers arrived two days in advance for fear of losing their train. The national railway authority expects to carry 332 million passengers this season for some 2.91 billion-passenger trips.

Guangzhou (AsiaNews/Agencies) – More than 100,000 people were stuck at Guangzhou’s railway ­station in southern China late on Monday, facing long delays amid icy rain, as ­millions made their way home for Chinese Lunar New Year.

The station put into force its Level-3 emergency measures for the first time since 2008 because the icy rain made tracks unusable, blocking trains to and fro Guangzhou.

In Shanghai, some 30,000 people were stuck at Hongqiao Railway Station after more than 50 trains were delayed due to bad weather.

In Guangzhou, some passengers arrived at the station two days ahead of their journey, fearing they would not catch their train in time because of the long queues.

To cope with the situation, the station stepped up security, deploying more than 2,600 guards, to prevent disturbances and thefts.

Chinese Lunar New Year, which this year is dedicated to the Monkey, is the main culprit for this huge mass migration.

Traditionally, people spend New Year's Eve with the family in their village or town of origin. This means that hundreds of millions of people travel, including unregistered migrants living in large cities or in the wealthier provinces.

Following Eastern tradition, the Spring Festival is also the main time of the year to open new businesses, and to close the accounts on the past year paying off debts.

After the start of the New Year, many people will also visit Taoist and Buddhist temples to improve their fortune.

On doors of homes, and on the side of shops, people hang cards wishing "Success in all undertakings," "Great wealth," and "Every year, more and better."

Cards posted on homes also speak of wealth, long life, many children, and successful careers, like "May all your wishes be fulfilled" or "Ten thousand generations."

Christians usually quote passages from the Gospel, seeking God’s blessing.

This season, the national railway authority expects to ferry 332 million passengers– a rise of nearly 13 per cent from the same time last year.

Some 2.91 billion-passenger trips are expected in all forms of transport over the 40-day travel period, which runs from 24 January to 3 March.

On average, travellers will cover 410 kilometres, according to Transport Ministry projections.

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