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Spring Festival Return-trip Transport Spree to Appear on Monday

Chinese transportation departments forecast that the return-trip travel peak of the Spring Festival may come on Monday, as millions of people will return to work after holiday travels or festive family gatherings.

A spokesman with the Ministry of Railways said that the ministry has arranged 226 special trains to address the looming travel wave, which may surge on the fifth day of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, one day earlier than the previous years.

He explained that the return-trip travel spree used to appear on the sixth day of the holiday. However, this year's rescheduled Spring Festival holiday started one day earlier -- starting from the eve of Chinese Lunar New Year to the sixth day, which may move up the return-trip travel peak one day earlier.

Xinhua's sources with local railway departments in the national capital of Beijing, south China's Guangdong Province and east China's Shanghai all reported that pressure of return-trip travel are getting heavier on Sunday, and may reach an acme on Monday.

The Guangdong provincial railway department told Xinhua that departure train tickets for the next three days had been sold out on Friday, the third day of the week-long holiday. The largest passenger flow is expected on Monday.

A tidal wave of passengers began to hit back China's eastern railways, according to the Shanghai Railway Bureau on Saturday, after a short break of the snarled transport taking home gatherings passengers away from the commercial hub ahead and at the beginning of the holiday.

Two railway stations in Beijing forecast that the total daily passenger arrivals would exceed 100,000 on Monday and Tuesday., one of China's leading on-line ticket booking agencies suggested that no discount air tickets were available for flights to Chinese big cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing from Monday to Wednesday.

The Ministry of Communications observed a rising traffic on short-distance road travels, and a recovery of cross-province passenger transport, which had been damaged in many expressway sections in snow-hit eastern, central and southern China regions.

On Saturday, a total of 23.5 million passengers chose road traffic for travel, 1.48 million more than that of Friday and 2.12 million more than the figure for the same day of last year, according to the ministry's figure.

(Xinhua News Agency February 10, 2008)

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