The first freight train linking China and Spain has completed its maiden journey, marking the opening of the world’s longest railway route dubbed as ‘the Silk Railway’.
The Guardian reported that this test run started from Yiwu in coastal China, covering more than 13,000km, passing through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France.
Carrying 30 containers with 1,400t of cargo, the train arrived at the Abroñigal freight terminal in Madrid, Spain.
The cargo was mostly toys, stationery and other items intended for sale across Europe.
The train took 21 days to reach the destination, which is ten days earlier than the shipping duration between the freight points.
This first direct link between China and Spain is said to be longer than Russia’s Trans-Siberian railway linking Moscow to Vladivostok near Russia’s border with China.
The governor of Zhejiang province in China has called this route as ’21st century Silk Road’.
InterRail Services and DB Schenker Rail and DB’s Spanish offshoot, Tranfesa, in Spain, will serve as operators of the freight service.
The Guardian reported citing China’s ambassador to Spain that the train will carry wine, jamón and olive oil when it returns. These goods are expected to be sold in the Chinese New Year market.
The New Zealand Herald reported that Germany’s DB Shenker Rail subsidiary Euro Cargo Rail is now studying the possibility of starting a regular service between China and Spain and it is expected to start in the first half of 2015.
Currently, China has a direct freight rail link to Germany.