Campaigners have welcomed the arrival of the first ever freight train carrying consumer products from China to the UK.
The ‘Silk Road’ train arrived on Wednesday afternoon (18 January) at the DB Cargo Eurohub terminal at Barking, London with 34 containers of clothes and high street goods.
It started in Yiwu in eastern China, and travelled through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before arriving in the UK on the HS1 line through the Channel Tunnel.
The 12,000 km journey took 17 days, half the time of a sea journey.
The trip was welcomed by Freight on Rail - a partnership between Campaign for Better Transport, the rail freight industry and transport trade unions – who said that rail, like sea, is a safer more sustainable way to carry cargo than either air or road freight.
Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager, was there to mark what she called a ‘historic occasion’
She said: ‘Rail is a crucial part of the logistics supply chain and is well placed to offer long distance traffic both internationally and in the UK, as this story shows. Consumer traffic grew 7% in the first quarter of this year, the highest level since 1998; overall, it has grown by 30% in last 10 years.’