Print This Page Email This Page
Heavy Snow Strands Train Travelers

Prolonged snow, rain and cold weather has led to train delays in central and south China and stranded tens of thousands of passengers, in addition to expressway closures, flight cancellations and relocations of people.

A total of 136 electric passenger trains came to a standstill on an artery railway in Hunan Province after the local power supply system was damaged by continuous snow and icy rain.

Technicians and workers with the Guangzhou Railway Group Corp, the operating company, were using more than 100 diesel locomotives to pull the electric locomotives carrying tens of thousands of passengers from a section that suffered a sudden drop in power, a company spokesman said.

About 40,000 passengers were stranded at different stations along the trunk line linking Beijing and Guangzhou in south China, he said. Another 50,000 passengers were delayed at Guangzhou Railway Station.

"We will do our best to resume traffic as soon as possible," he said.

The company had dispatched more than 10,000 technical workers to repair the damaged power lines, and cancelled trains scheduled to depart from Guangzhou Railway Station, especially those bound for Hunan, he said.

It had also ordered the transfer of some trains to other lines and refunds to passengers reduce number of stranded people, he said.

Meanwhile, the company had dispatched workers with almost 10,000 kg of rice, vegetables, meat, edible oil, and 20,000 boxes of instant noodles and drinking water to serve passengers aboard the stranded trains, he said.

"It seems I will spend my Spring Festival holiday at this station," said a passenger from Chenzhou, Hunan Province, who had been delayed for several hours at Changsha Railway Station with 2,000 other people on Saturday.

"The coach service was suspended because the expressway had been shut down. I thought it would be easier to go home by railway, but I never thought the trains could be delayed by snow," he said.

Delays of up to at least nine hours in some stations were also reported in Kunming, Yunnan Province, and Shenzhen, in Guangdong Province.

In east China's Zhejiang Province, more than 10,000 coaches has been hampered, affecting some 1.2 million passengers. By Saturday afternoon, 50,000 passengers were stranded in four long-distance coach stations of Hangzhou, Zhejiang's capital.

In Shanghai, more than 550 coaches, most heading for Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hebei and Hubei, were stopped by snow.

Due to the closure of the expressway linking Beijing and Zhuhai, Guangdong, about 9,900 vehicles have been stranded in a nearby highway in Guangdong's Ruyuan County and more than 20,000 vehicles with 60,000 people stranded near Hunan's Xiangtan City. Similar cases were also reported in southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Airports in Hunan and east China's Jiangsu, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces as well as expressways have also been temporarily closed.

More than 20 flights in Shanghai were affected by the harsh weather.

In the Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong Province, more than 10 flights were cancelled while many heading for East China provinces were delayed, stranding at least 1,200 people on Saturday. Authorities with the airport estimated that about 3,000 passengers were affected due to persistent snow over the couple of days.

Heavy snow since mid-January, the worst in 50 years in China's southern, central and eastern areas, has affected tens of millions of people, forced the relocation of hundreds of thousands, led to power cuts, collapsed buildings, damaged crops and left thousands of head of livestock dead.

Five people died in a snow-related accident in Hunan, another three in southwestern Guizhou Province.

In central Hubei Province, two more deaths were reported in snow-related accidents, while 10.24 million people from 17 cities and prefectures were plagued by disasters.

The snow, which toppled down 23,000 houses and damaged 650,000 hectares of crops, imposed a direct economic loss of 2.79 billion yuan (US$385 million) in the province.

Communication and power supply were cut in some areas of Guizhou Province, southwest China, where 3.77 million cell phone users, or 45 percent of the total in the mountainous province, found their cell phones in weak or even no signals.

Across the country, millions of people are trying to return home for the Spring Festival, the traditional Chinese Lunar New Year that falls on February 7 this year, putting heavy pressure on the already-stressed transport system.

The Ministry of Railways predicted that China's railways would carry an unprecedented 178.6 million passengers during the travel peak from January 23 to March 2, up from 156 million last year.

Meteorological authorities have forecast the latest round of heavy snow would last till Monday.

(Xinhua News Agency January 28, 2008)

Related Stories
- Heavy Snow Kills 17, Cuts Power in China
- China Reports More Affected by Heavy Snow
- Heavy Snow Sparks Alert
- Snow, Rain Strand 1,000-plus Trucks to Three Gorges
- Snow Falls on Central, Eastern China
- Heavy Snow Forecast for Central China Provinces
- Heavy Snow Chokes Transport Before Spring Festival
- Heavy Snow Hits Guizhou

Print This Page Email This Page
Cold, Cold Heart? Not in Shanghai
New Railways to Link Xinjiang with Central Asia
China Lifts Bird Flu Quarantine in Northwest
Gov't Urges Conservation to Ease Winter Power Disruption
Conservationists Use Poll to Back China's Tiger Trade Ban
Heavy Snow Strands Train Travelers

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys