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Rail schedule augmented for Spring Festival rush

By CHENG SI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-11 06:50

Members of the Lisu ethnic group give fresh fruits as gifts to passengers on a bullet train in Dechang, Sichuan province, on Monday. It was the first Fuxing bullet train departing from Sichuan's Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, a mountainous ethnic area once afflicted by the most entrenched poverty in China. Sections of a new Chengdu-Kunming Railway, with longer bridges and tunnels shortening the line and increasing the speed, were recently put into operation. LIU ZHONGJUN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

A new railway operating schedule introduced on Monday will help increase passenger and freight capacity for the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush.

The travel rush is projected to last 40 days from Jan 17 to Feb 25, with about 280 million train trips expected to be made.

China State Railway Group, the national railway operator, said the network will operate 10,462 passenger train routes and more than twice that number of freight train services under the new schedule.

The capacity of high-speed trains from central and eastern provinces to the southern province of Guangdong will be improved, with travel times shortened, it said.

For example, it takes only three and a half hours to travel from Nanchang, Jiangxi's provincial capital, to Shenzhen in Guangdong by bullet train under the new schedule, compared to four to seven hours before.

The railway operator said the new schedule will also optimize freight transport capacity to meet the nation's coal shipping needs.

Thirty-eight additional freight train services will be offered along lines including the one from Beijing to Shanghai and the line from Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province, to Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Another four heavy-load freight train services are available on the line from Ordos, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, to Ji'an, Jiangxi, according to the new schedule, in addition to the existing 120 freight train services.

The railway operator said that it has also improved policies on refunding and changing train tickets to better facilitate travel during the Spring Festival rush.

Ticket services on 12306, a mobile application and website it runs, will be extended to 1 am from the previous 11:30 pm, except for Tuesdays. The services open to the public at 5 am each day.

Ticket refund services will be available up to the time the train departs from the station. Previously, travelers were only allowed to get ticket refunds up to 25 minutes before the train departed.

A bullet train runs on the new Chengdu-Kunming Railway in Dechang, Sichuan province, on Monday. HE HAIYANG/FOR CHINA DAILY
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