Across China: Villagers cash in on Spring Festival railcar fair

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-07 20:57:14|Editor: Yurou
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XI'AN Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- As a train slowly parked at the station at 8 a.m., Shao Yanhong got onboard carrying a big basket loaded with chickens, tofu and fruit.

She was not there to travel but to sell, and the time around Chinese New Year is the best period for business.

"Home-raised chicken, natural and organic," Shao shouted. "Good for both stir frying and soup!"

Inside a railcar, over a dozen venders like Shao sold their goods, mostly homegrown or homemade agricultural products, ranging from mushrooms and seed oil to bacon and sausages.

At the end of 2018, the railcar was added to a train running along the deep Qinba mountains of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, where Shao and her husband live.

The train, traveling 117 km, connects many poverty-striken local towns and villages in the mountainous area with the outside world. It is known for its slow speed and low pricing -- 7.5 yuan (about 1.1 U.S. dollars) for the whole trip.

"Many villagers took the train, with their local products for selling in the cities, and we gradually had the idea to add a railcar specially for them, so they can also sell their products during the trip," said Lu Ming, with China Railway Xi'an Group, the train operator.

On one side of the railcar, a special zone was set up for keeping baskets and other large luggage, with belts provided to fasten things in place.

On the other side is a zone for the products. The railcar floor has been redesigned with anti-slip strips.

Shao and her husband prepared for the railcar fair the previous day. After lifting out of poverty last year, they have raised 400 chickens to increase their income.

More than half of the chickens have been sold in nearby towns over the year, and they wanted to try their luck in the railcar fair over Spring Festival, when many migrant workers travel home.

Wang Xueyuan, 67, Shao's fellow villager, also came to the market with homegrown garlic bolt, cabbage and radish.

As the train arrives at a station, crowds of passengers fill the railcar. Wang sold all the vegetables that morning.

The train conductor writes the information including the product stock and intended price, on a board in the railcar, serving as advertisement.

Shao earned a total of 370 yuan in the morning. "We want to work even harder this year and earn enough to redecorate our house," she said.