31 January 2008
Half a million rail passengers delayed for several days at Guangzhou
Brian Micklethwait

If you find your trains sometimes to be late and always to be crowded, try putting up with this:

China’s most important railway, Jing-guang Railway (Guangzhou-Beijing), cannot reopen to traffic for 3 to 5 days, due to the power supply cut in Hunan Province and the aggravated snowy weather in the regions along the line, according to the Guangzhou Railway Group. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has gone to Hunan to inspect and oversea the situation.

Some 500,000 people have been condemned to waiting in Guangzhou for their trains. Passenger accomodation sites in the city are in good order and there are no crowds seeking refunds.

For the time being, all seems well.  But this blogger, who has pictures of various bits of the teeming thousands, reckons it will soon turn much nastier:

Because of the vastness of the situation, it was very hard to get a decent photo from the ground ... the pictures I have here only tell the story from a short vantage/viewpoint.  It is important to click on these pictures and to examine what lies beyond the initial view of the shot…what you will see are people.  Thousands and thousands of them.

I worry that as these people run out of money and grow more and more frustrated, tired, hungry, cold and wet, things will come to a boil.  You can imagine what will happen with these crowds once the first trains are announced on the loudspeakers ... the crush of those wanting to get tickets or those that have tickets trying to get through in time to catch the train.  It will be ugly ... no doubt.

I heard about this when Instapundit linked to the story.  Half a million people.  Half a million.

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