Queues from hell! Over 100,000 stranded outside Guangzhou station in China (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Guangzhou railway station in southern China has been swamped by over 100,000 people desperate to get home to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Heavy snow in northern and central provinces caused delays to dozens of trains, leaving passengers stranded.
People had a nightmare start to the Lunar New festival, which gets underway later in February. They were unable to board trains because of inclement weather, leading to massive queues developing outside Guangzhou railway station.
Some people were standing for more than 10 hours in the pouring rain, as 32 trains were delayed.
Earth's biggest voluntarily exodus is about the begin. Last night Guangzhou train station. #CNY16#SpringFestivalpic.twitter.com/siaL8rYeaq— Burak Ercakir (@laowaidiary) February 2, 2016
Part of the problem was caused by some of the passengers being a little overzealous to get to the station with plenty of time to spare. The railway authorities reported that some travelers had arrived at the terminal two days before they were due to depart.
Chinese-style rush hour
Now that is a rush hour! 100,000 Lunar New Year travellers stranded at railway station in ChinaPosted by RT Play on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
More than 2,600 security personnel were drafted in to try and keep order in the station’s vicinity. Meanwhile, subway and ferry services stopped bringing more passengers to the railway station to try and control the crowds.
Scenes at Guangzhou train station yesterday remind many of 2008 10万人滞留广州火车站堪比2008年雪灾？官方辟谣. https://t.co/ZqC1mEuQAypic.twitter.com/lkZASzQlnO— CLB (@chinalabour) February 2, 2016
“We are turning down passengers who want to go to the train station because we’re not allowed to approach the area anymore,” said one taxi driver, as cited by the South China Morning Post.
Safety was paramount due to the vast volume of people in the vicinity and memories of a deadly stampede that took place in Shanghai on December 31, 2014, in which 36 people were killed and 47 injured.
1/2 Enormous crowds at Guangzhou station and elsewhere, returning home for lunar new year. https://t.co/lwChIQLGgdpic.twitter.com/z4vk5OowFu— Clayton Dube 杜克雷 (@claydube) February 2, 2016
Every year, millions of Chinese migrant workers head from the urban centers to their family homes to take part in the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated on February 8.
This year, the annual migration started on January 24 and will last until March 3. China’s National Development and Reform Commission expect passenger volumes to reach more than 2.91 billion people, Reuters reports.