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The largest annual human migration is on track to be even larger this year as almost 150 million train tickets have been sold for the Spring Festival travel period, which officially begins later this week on January 17.

Ease of buying and speed of trains may increase train travel amongst commuters this season as travel times are cut; as well, while the annual burden of wading through notorious ticket lines (pictured above) has previously been a necessary evil, this year almost half of all tickets are expected to be purchased online. One report indicated that when tickets for the peak period went on sale last week, 31 trains to various destinations sold out in the first two seconds. That’s even faster than Zeppelin at the Garden in 1975.

Five million tickets have been sold in one day so far, a 20 percent increase over the highest day on record.

None of this includes travel by air or travelers who will drive home for China’s biggest holiday. No word yet on whether the government will waive highway tolls for passenger cars as they have during other vacation periods.

Photo: Telegraph.co.uk