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The Chinese New Year is a popular time to travel home to visit family. Described as the largest annual human migration on Earth, it’s a period of massive traffic jams as everyone tries to get somewhere all at once, making over 2.9 billion journeys in all. The delays aren’t just on roads, which is what 100,000 train passengers found out at Guangzhou station on Monday.
Vast crowds of migrant workers surged into Guangzhou’s main railway station hoping to make it back to their family homes ahead of Lunar New Year festivities on 8 February that will usher in the Year of the Monkey.
However, a bout of freezing weather and snow across eastern and central China saw at least 23 trains delayed, leaving many trapped in and around the station.
Aerial photographs published by one website showed a crush of bodies snaking towards the train station through metal barricades. About 176,000 passengers had been due to pass through the station on Monday alone.
“There are too many people and it is too crowded,” one stranded passenger, who was not named, told state broadcaster CCTV.
Here are just a few photos & videos of the chaos (more can be found here):
That is hell for anyone with agoraphobia, or really anyone with sense. Given how there doesn’t appear to be much guidance for the crowds in some areas, it’s a wonder that there are no reports of anyone being hurt in the chaos. Over 2,600 security guards were sent to monitor the situation, but 100,000 people is still a lot to manage.
The documentary “Last Train Home” is about the annual migration home for the Chinese New Year. I haven’t seen it, but it’s supposed to be good. Here’s the trailer for it.
Hopefully the rest of this year’s New Year goes better than Monday did.
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Traveler. Writer. Photographer. Terrible dancer. 40+ countries & major territories so far, slowly working my way through the rest. Related interests: craft beer, street food, sporting events, value travel, credit card bonuses, hiking, visiting non-touristy places. Join me for the journey!