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Chinese New Year: Train travel madness

Chinese New Year train travel reaches new heights
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Chinese migrant workers wait to board their train home for the annual Chinese New Year holidays, at the Beijing Train Station on January 15 2012. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

China's New Year travel madness reached new levels for the Year of the Dragon. Tis the season when millions of Chinese citizens head home for the holidays and this year they appear to be doing so in record numbers, with unprecedented numbers of train trips.

Xinhua reports that more than 80 million people -- roughly the entire population of Egypt -- hopped on China's trains during the peak Lunar New Year travel season this year, homeward bound for the holidays. The Railways Ministry, under fire for a poorly executed new online ticket buying system, added 289 trains to the system Sunday to handle the traffic. Even so, thousands of passengers made hours-long journeys home without seats, in standing-room-only cars.

Train travel for the holiday was up nearly 8 percent this year, Xinhua said, in part because bad weather slowed air travel. In all, China expects more than 3 billion passenger trips during the New Year travel season this month.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/chinese-new-year

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