The first freight train from London to China arrived in the Chinese city of Yiwu on April 29 after covering over 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles), the second-longest route in the world.
The train named East Wind departed London on April 10 and passed through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan during its 20-day trip before arriving in Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province.
London-China journey on East Wind, with 88 containers, will normally takes 18 days, 30 days faster than by ship. Trains can make multiple stops on the route and is less affected by adverse weather.
East Wind’s carriages is changed en route because of the larger gauge on railways in Eastern Europe.
China launched the “One Belt, One Road” strategy in 2013 and built the infrastructure in modern-day “Silk Road” route.
Silk Road rail services are cheaper than air transport and quicker than shipping.
London is the 15th city to be linked to the Silk Route rail network.
Other Silk Road links:
Chinese city of Chongqing to Duisburg, a steel-making town and one of Germany’s most-important transportation and commercial hubs.
Beijing to Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city.
Length of Rail routes:
1. 13,000 km: China-Madrid link, opened in 2014.
2. 12,000 km: UK (London) to China (Yiwu).
3. Trans-Siberian railway.