Connecting Zhejiang and London Via Rail
A train that left Yiwu West Railway Station in Zhejiang province on New Year’s Day is currently en route to London, in a first-of-its-kind rail connection between China and the British capital.
China’s first freight train to London is being bubbed as the new Silk Road. London is the fifteenth city in Europe to enjoy freight service from China.
The 8,000-mile journey will take two and a half weeks. The train is carrying 88 containers of products such as clothing, fabric, and bags, that will transit through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France.
Rail service is cheaper than air freight and faster than ocean transportation. After crossing the English Channel the train will arrive at the Barking Station’s Rail Freight Terminal in London. The terminal is directly connected to the High Speed 1 rail line to the European mainland.
However, different railway gauges mean that a single train cannot travel the whole route but that the containers will need to be reloaded at various points.
“The freight train will strengthen inter-connectivity with western Europe, promote China-Britain trade, and better serve the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Xinhua, the Chinese offical news agency.
The train is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision for One Belt, One Road, Xinhua explained, China’s infrastructure initiative which was launched in 2013. The program is aimed at improving China’s economic ties with Europe, Asia, and the Middle East with overland transportation links.