In an effort to boost economic ties throughout Europe, China has just put its first freight train on a direct route to London. Carrying clothes, bags and other household items, the train will spend two weeks traveling 12,000 miles to reach its destination in Barking Rail Freight Terminal in East London.
The move is part of a wider project that China initiated in 2013 to boost infrastructure, trade and investments throughout Europe. China is already connected via rail to various euro trade hubs including Hamburg and Madrid. The Chinese government has dubbed these new links the New Silk Road.
The freight train, which travels at a cheaper rate than air freight and faster on tracks than by sea, will pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before arriving in London. There, it will be directly connected to the High Speed 1 rail line to the European mainland.
However, a single train cannot travel the entire route due to the different railway gauges involved. The containers will need to be reloaded at various points.