China's first freight train to Britain arrives in London

19 January, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • China's first freight train to Britain arrives in London

The first freight train service to travel the 12,000km from China is due to enter the United Kingdom through the Channel Tunnel this afternoon.

Just 17 days earlier, on January 1st, the train left Yiwu West Station and travelled via seven countries before entering the Channel Tunnel and making its way to the Barking Eurohub in east London.

The train departed east China's Yiwu City in Zhejiang Province on New Year's Day and is scheduled to arrive in Barking, east London, this afternoon.

A fanfare of costumed dancers, drummers and choreographers posing as Chinese dragons welcomed the inaugural service alongside members of the Chinese embassy and trade representatives.

It had passed through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, finally crossing under the English Channel into Britain.

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The train, operated by the InterRail Group, took 18 days to make the 12,000 km journey loaded with textiles and consumer goods - about half the time of transport by sea.

London is the 15th city in Europe added to China-Europe freight train services.

InterRail, a multinational transport operator headquartered in Switzerland, operates the service on behalf of China Railway subsidiary CRIMT.

It's thought this new trade route, which the United Kingdom has dubbed "The New Silk Road", will open up improved Sino-British trade relations. "We believe this is going to change the way a lot of forwarders and shippers view their imports and exports for China". Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the multibillion-dollar investment in infrastructure known as "One Belt, One Road" in 2013.

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