Stranded fear they will miss holiday

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 January, 2008, 12:00am

Chen Yong's dream of going home for the Lunar New Year may be ruined by the bad weather that has caused a power failure on the Beijing-Guangzhou railway in Hunan province for more than two days.

Mr Chen, 24, a migrant worker at an aluminium factory in Guangzhou, went to Guangdong to find work when he was only 16. He said last night that being stranded at the Guangzhou railway station was bad luck, since he had hoped that for the first time in eight years he could enjoy the holiday with his family in Neijiang, Sichuan province .

'But so many people are as unlucky as I am this year, and there is nothing we can do but wait,' he said.

Almost 150,000 passengers were stranded at Guangzhou station on Saturday night after a power failure stopped more than 100 trains in Hunan, in effect paralysing the main national trunk link between Beijing and Guangzhou.

Mr Chen and most of the stranded passengers initially spent Saturday night under the elevated highways outside the railway station square, trying to shelter from the light rain and cold temperatures.

As the crowd grew, the city government opened the Canton Fair exhibition buildings and sent the crowd there to spend the night. Zhou Chengan from Hunan said he was hungry and cold, but did not dare leave the building for fear of missing his train.

A security guard working in Guangta Street said he believed the Guangzhou government had moved most of the community guards from Yuexiu district to the railway station to beef up security.

He said they would have to work at least 12 hours a day and were told that they would have no leave for the Lunar New Year.