A passenger walks across a waiting room of Harbin Railway Station in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Jan. 1, 2013. Harbin's railway system has witnessed a travel peak around the 2013 New Year's Day, a national holiday. In the meantime, the number of passengers departing from the Harbin Railway Station is expected to exceed 500,000 during the 3-day holiday. (Xinhua File Photo) BEIJING, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- China's railways carried a record number of passengers on the first day of 2013 due to a surge in the number of middle- and short-distance travelers during the three-day New Year holiday, the Ministry of Railways said Thursday. About 5.67 million passengers took trains on New Year's Day, marking a rise of 16.3 percent from the number recorded during the same period last year, the ministry said. The number of passengers increased the most in central China's Hubei province, with the Wuhan municipal railway bureau recording a 41.2-percent year-on-year increase, the ministry said. Intercity railways, particularly the new Harbin-Dalian and Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railways, have boosted travel demand, the ministry said. The Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway, the world's longest, opened on Dec. 26, cutting travel time between the cities to about 8 hours. The ministry said that it expects another travel peak on Thursday as people return to work.