A packed waiting area was a regular sight at the Guangzhou South Station during the Golden Week holiday. Photo: Xinhua
A packed waiting area was a regular sight at the Guangzhou South Station during the Golden Week holiday. Photo: Xinhua

More than 15 million passengers throughout China rode bullet trains in a rush to get back to their cities on the last day of the “Golden Week” break, which ended on October 7.

The spike in riders put the nation’s railway operator under pressure, having just carried almost 100 million passengers within the whirlwind first five days of the week-long holiday. More people opted for rail trips out of fear of being stuck in traffic jams on roads and expressways.

The China Railway Corp reportedly scrambled 741 extra trains with a total of 4,200 passenger cars to cope with Sunday’s passenger flow from resorts and scenic spots to major cities.

新华社照片,南京,2017年9月21日 350公里!“复兴号”开启中国高铁新时速 9月21日,一列“复兴号”动车组在京沪高铁线路上与“和谐号”动车组交会。 9月21日9时整,G1次中国标准动车组“复兴号”驶出北京南站,瞬间提速。历经4小时28分的飞驰,抵达上海虹桥站。 其疾如风!一路上,“复兴号”最高时速达到355公里。350公里时速的正式运营,标志着我国成为世界高铁商业运营速度最高的国家。 新华社发(苏阳 摄)
Two bullet trains operated by the China Railway Corp on the Shanghai-Nanjing express rail link. Photo: Xinhua
A passenger takes a picture of the main waiting room inside Shanghai’s Hongqiao Station. Photo: Weibo via DFIC
Passengers and train attendants wave Chinese flags in celebration of National Day. Photo: China News Services

Beijing alone saw an influx of 580,000 passengers at the capital city’s three major rail terminus on Sunday, as residents and migrant workers were anxious to get back to town before the start of the next working day.

Meanwhile, the CRC’s Beijing Railway Bureau was under fire for halving the number of passenger cars on three out-bound bullet trains on Friday and Saturday, when riders were told to either squeeze themselves into packed trains or spend extra hours in stopovers at intermediate stations.

At least three 16-car bullet trains to cities in Heibei province were cut short and unfortunate passengers whose seats were on the missing trains had to stand for hours in remaining cars already chock a block with riders.

Passengers whose seats were on the missing cars had to squeeze themselves into packed cars or stand all the way in corridors. Photo: Weibo

Xinhua reported that the problem was caused by power distribution glitches, but the rail operator decided not to cancel these train trips but instead to dislodge some cars so passengers would still be able to get home as planned.

One passenger who stood for two hours told reporters that the grueling ride was even worse than Beijing’s notoriously crowded metro during morning rush hours.