Railway station chief demoted after passengers complain of overcrowding

2008-01-21 06:46:01 Xinhua English

CHANGSHA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The head of Changsha railway station in central China's Hunan Province has been demoted after more than 100 people complained they could not board a train despite having tickets in hand.

The Guangzhou Railway Group announced the demotion on Monday, without giving details. It came four days after the dismissal of the head of the Wuhu railway station over a passenger's death.

The passengers at Changsha station, including local university students, were refused entry on the train from Jiujiang to Shaoyang on Jan. 14 because it was already overloaded before arriving in Changsha.

Their complaints, together with the death of the college student who was pushed off the platform at Wuhu railway station and killed by a train, have attracted nationwide attention and brought China's Chunyun, or Spring Festival transportation, into the spotlight again.

The death occurred on Jan. 13 when Leng Jing, a junior student from Anhui Normal University, was waiting with more than 600 other passengers.

Passengers flooded on to the platform before the train had stopped and Leng was pushed beneath on to the tracks.

A huge rise in passengers, particularly among college students and migrants, forms the Spring Festival transport boom as they make their way home and then return within a 40-day period. Train tickets are particularly difficult to purchase during the peak passenger flow.

The Chunyun migration is the subject of heated public discussion each year. China started its Chunyun on Friday amid widespread concern.

The railways are expected to carry a record 178.6 million passengers during the 40 days, up from 156 million last year, according to China's Ministry of Railways.