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China Rushes to Move Passengers in Snow Intervals

Trains, planes and buses were scrambling to reach their destinations on Sunday in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou during an interval in the heavy snow that has been wreaking havoc on the country during the past few weeks.

Elsewhere, 100 trains were scheduled to depart from Guangzhou, a southern boomtown in Guangdong Province favored by migrant workers. The number of scheduled departures was close to usual, according to the Guangzhou Railway Group.

Trains carried more than 120,000 stranded passengers out of Guangzhou between 6 p.m. on Saturday and 6:00 AM on Sunday. About one million people were still stranded at the Guangzhou Railway Station on Sunday after snow caused a power failure in Hunan Province, a major trunk route between Beijing and Guangzhou.

"Every possible wheel is moving," said a Hangzhou Long-distance Transportation Company official.

Passengers queued to get on coaches that had been cancelled since January 26 due to the snow at the Hangzhou West Bus Station, while the waiting room was full of travelers eager to get home.

A station official said more than 2,000 people had stayed overnight at the station in hope of catching a bus, while the local airport said it had spared no effort to transport as many as people from the backlog of more than 10,000 people.

Hangzhou railway station managed to move 160,000 passengers within the first three days after rail traffic returned to normal on Wednesday.

The snow started to hit Hangzhou on Jan. 26 and lasted until February 2. More snow is forecast on Monday, according to the local meteorological bureau.

Hubei, Guizhou and other southern provinces also saw intervals in the snow and sleet on Sunday. The Central Meteorological Station, however, said more snow and sleet is forecast for the country's southern parts on Monday and Tuesday.

(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)

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