Silk Road route back in business as China train rolls into London

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Silk Road route back in business as China train rolls into London

After 16 days and 7,456 miles, the locomotive’s arrival heralds the dawn of a new commercial era

East Wind freight train
The East Wind freight train prepares for its journey at Yiwu station in Zhejiang province of China. Photograph: VCG/Getty Images

Tracy McVeigh

Saturday 14 January 2017 20.45 GMT Last modified on Saturday 14 January 2017 22.01 GMT

When the East Wind locomotive rumbles into east London this week, it will be at the head of 34 carriages full of socks, bags and wallets for London’s tourist souvenir shops, as well as the dust and grime accumulated through eight countries and 7,456 miles.

The train will be the first to make the 16-day journey from Yiwu in west China to Britain, reviving the ancient trading Silk Road route and shunting in a new era of UK-China relations.

Due to arrive on Wednesday, the train will have passed through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before crossing under the Channel and arriving in the east end of London at Barking rail freight terminal.

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