50,000 holidaymakers still trapped in Guangzhou

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 January, 1998, 12:00am

Fifty thousand holidaymakers were still waiting for trains at Guangzhou station last night after heavy snowfalls on the line to Beijing caused weekend-long delays.

At one point on Saturday, more than 300,000 people were stranded at the station, China News Service reported.

Railway Ministry vice-ministers Fu Zhihuan and Liu Zhijun flew to the city to direct operations to get passengers on the move.

A large contingent of public security officers were assigned to maintain order in and around the station, said Xinhua.

Officials said 62 trains carried well over 130,000 passengers during a 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday.

An additional 46 trains carried 100,000 people from Saturday evening to yesterday morning.

However, the snow was forcing trains to travel at only 20 kilometres per hour rather than the usual 100.

Some 80 lorries usually used for carrying cargo were also brought in to help cope with the heavier flow of passengers, many of whom had chosen to travel by train rather than bus because of the weather, further straining the service's capacity.

Officials expected most passengers to be on their way by today.

They predicted the nationwide system would be used by 139.3 million travellers during the holiday season.