First China-Britain freight train reaches London

The first demonstration rail freight service from China to the UK arrived at Barking in London on January 18

The first demonstration rail freight service from China to the UK arrived at Barking in London on January 18

The link reopens the old Silk Road route that was previously used to transport goods between Europe and Asia. "This is the first train to the United Kingdom, but very much part of a new type of commercial route".

The Freight train arrived in Barking, East London on Wednesday.

The first ever direct freight train service from China to the United Kingdom has arrived in London after an epic 17-day journey.

The train, hauling 68 containers of household cargo including clothes, bags and suitcases, has travelled through 14 countries on its route to the United Kingdom, including Kazakhstan, Russia and Poland. The train has reached London around 18 days later, making it twice as fast as transport by sea.

Yiwu is known for producing small commodities, and the train mainly carried such goods, including household items, garments, cloth, bags and suitcases.

The remainder arrived in London at Barking's Eurohub freight terminal.

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.

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It was initially named after the lucrative trade in Chinese silk under the Han Dynasty in around 202BC.

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.

China Railway already has freight services to a number of European destinations, including Hamburg and Madrid.

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

Once set up as a regular route, it is expected to run as a weekly service until the market has been assessed.

"The new service has a very quick transit time", operations director, Mike White, told the Railway Gazette.