BEIJING, June 23 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Railways said Saturday that 5.9 million people traveled on trains on Thursday, the first day of the four-day travel rush for the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.
The figure marked a jump of nearly 1 million passengers from Wednesday, and 298,000 passengers, or a 5.3-percent increase, from last year, the ministry said.
Passenger volumes of Jinan Railway Bureau and Qinghai-Tibet Railway Co. increased the most, up 23.8 percent and 17.4 percent, respectively, from the same period last year.
Shanghai Railway Bureau saw the biggest volume of passengers, as trains under its control carried 1.1 million travellers on the day.
Tourist cities Beijing, Tianjin and Wuhan all saw high rail-traffic volumes.
To cope with the travel rush, the ministry added 196 provisional passenger trains on Thursday, one day ahead of the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday.
The Dragon Boat Festival, also called Duanwu Festival, is traditionally celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Chinese lunar calendar.
The festival commemorates the famous ancient Chinese poet Qu Yuan. Chinese people prepare and eat zongzi, or leaf-packed glutinous rice dumplings, drink wine and race dragon boats on the day.
The festival falls on June 23 this year.