BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- China's summer transport peak period began Saturday, with a record-high number of passenger trips expected to be made by train this year.
The period runs from July 1 to August 31, when students on summer vacation have time to travel or return home.
A total of 598 million passenger trips are expected to be made by train during the 62-day period, rising by 49.7 million year on year, according to China Railway Corporation.
Railway authorities have put a new transport route plan into operation, which adds more trains at transport hubs and elevates average passenger capacity.
Under the new route plan, Beijing and the Yangtze River Delta cities Shanghai and Hangzhou, as well as Xuzhou, will open high-speed trains to the northwestern city of Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province during the summer peak period.
The Yangtze River Delta railway network is estimated to have 116 million passenger trips during the period, an increase of 9.2 percent from the same period last year.
Beijing will increase 32 pairs of trains to serve students and tourists during the travel peak, according to the Beijing Railway Bureau.
"Today is the first day of the summer transport period. We estimate the Beijing Railway Station will handle 210,000 outbound passenger trips on Saturday," said Wang Fan, an official in charge of passenger transport at the station.
Passengers can take bullet trains for the first time from Beijing to Xiongan New Area in neighboring Hebei Province next week, according to the China Railway Corporation.
High-speed trains become a popular choice for tourists.
"My children have begun their summer holidays. We will make a visit to Nanjing," said a woman surnamed Lu at the south railway station in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province. It was the first time for Lu to board a high-speed train.
In the southwestern Yunnan Province, high-speed trains are applied for this year's summer transport for the first time. In December, Yunnan opened high-speed trains bound for the eastern metropolis Shanghai and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region respectively.
Passengers who take high-speed trains to Yunnan will increase a lot this summer, according to the Kunming Railway Station.