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Beijing South Railway Station cleared crowds of passengers on Monday by opening 28 windows to refund tickets that couldn"t be used because of a suspension of services, the station authority said.
Twenty-three high-speed trains departing from Beijing South were halted - most of them bound for Shanghai - including the earliest (which was scheduled to leave at 7:35 am) and the latest (scheduled for 5:45 pm), the station said.
Some colored steel plates, which had blown down in a strong wind, cut power lines near the railway and severed part of the Langfang-Beijing section on the direct Beijing-Shanghai route, the Beijing Railway Bureau said.
A high-speed G40 train traveling from Hangzhou to Beijing was halted near Langfang, Hebei province, at 11:04 pm on Sunday, when the mishap occurred, the bureau said.
Several subsequent trains were then delayed until the wee hours - about 4 am - when the problem was corrected.
That morning around 7, a second breakdown occurred on the same line. Railway departments launched an emergency response as services were again suspended.
As of 10 am on Monday, the trains were gradually returning to normal. But thousands of passengers were held at the station.
Zhang Bo, 42, an engineer traveling from Beijing to Wuxi, planned to leave Beijing South at 2:45 pm but had to wait nearly two hours.
"I didn"t know what happened before I arrived at the station," he said. "An hour has passed and I am still waiting for the station"s broadcast announcement."
Glenn Richards, a technical manager from Australia, who was traveling in China, said his tour group encountered the delayed train service after a short stay in Beijing and was heading to South China.
The 42-year-old said he had only been waiting about 30 minutes and thought it was just a normal technical problem. "We"re just waiting for the tour guide to tell us what"s going on," he said.
During the summer travel rush, Beijing South handles an average of about 154,000 passengers a day. From July 1 to Aug 31, the station is expected to see 9.53 million travelers.
The station increased the number of refund ticket windows from the usual two to 28 to help the stranded tourists, who were given full refunds.
Shang Zihan, who was supposed to leave Beijing in the morning but decided to refund his tickets in the afternoon, said it"s understandable that a device can malfunction. He changed his original plan and got a refund for his ticket.
"It"s good that I can get my full ticket price back," he said.
Within 30 days, passengers who were stranded can take their paper tickets to a ticket office for a refund. No additional fees will be charged, the station said.
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