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Spring Festival tickets on track

Rail tickets for travel during the Spring Festival go on sale in Shanghai this afternoon from 3pm, when passengers will be able to book their seats for travel on January 30.

Many migrant workers in the city have already begun leaving Shanghai to avoid the crowds, rail officials said.

They are optimistic that there will be fewer complaints this year about long waiting times and overnight queuing with more ticket booths open and altered times for sales.

More than 2.94 million people are expected to leave the city by train before the festival starts on February 14 this year. It is estimated that 34 percent will be migrant workers.

Train services to southwest China's Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces have already seen an increase in the number of passengers.

Ticket sales will start at 3pm this year, instead of 8am, at the city's two railway stations and people will be able to buy tickets up to 11 days in advance.

Local railway authorities have put 728 ticket booths into use citywide this year, a 54 percent rise over last year's 473.

At the north square of the Shanghai Railway Station there will be 200 in operation.

Rail officials advised short-distance travelers, especially those going to cities in the Yangtze River Delta region, to buy tickets from the 50 automatic ticket machines.

Passengers can also book tickets via a 24-hour hotline, 95105105, in Chinese only.

Shanghai Railway Station will begin a temporary train service to Chongqing Municipality on Thursday.

Officials said 46 services to cities such Beijing, Zhengzhou, Hefei and Wenzhou would open before the festival.