February 2, 2016 / 2:07 PM / in 2 years

Thousands stranded at China train station during holiday travel rush

Passengers wait to enter a railway station after trains were delayed due to bad weather in southern China in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - More than 50,000 passengers were stranded at a railway station in the Chinese city of Guangzhou on Tuesday because of weather delays, state media said, an inauspicious start for some as the country embarks upon its annual lunar new year travel rush.

Millions brave long queues, delays, and sold out tickets in the yearly 40-day travel frenzy that bookends China’s Spring Festival, the country’s most important holiday, which this year falls on Feb. 8.

Authorities had taken emergency measures to alleviate the overflow crowds at the Guangzhou Railway Station and “avoid the dangers of overcrowding”, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Media reported that the number of delayed travelers at the station in the southern city had surpassed 100,000 on Monday. Pictures in state media showed thousands of people crammed into lines outside the station.

Rare heavy snow in several eastern and central provinces had contributed to delays, slowing down trains and blocking roads.

Xinhua has said the country is bracing for record levels of passengers this year.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Robert Birsel

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