THE FIRST train exporting goods from the UK to China left the London Gateway terminal in South Essex on 10 April 2017.

The trip follows the arrival of the first freight train from China to the UK on 18 January (p20, March issue). The return journey, which was due to take about three weeks, is bound for Yiwu in the Zhe Jiang province in eastern China, carrying products including soft drinks, vitamins, pharmaceuticals and baby products.

The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme, aimed at reviving the Silk Road trading routes to the West. DB Cargo locomotives are hauling the train through France and Belgium to Duisburg, Germany, before InterRail will take over for the journey through Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazahkstan. As on the outward journey from China, changes of gauge en-route will require transhipment of the containers. The transportation and booking of cargo is overseen by OneTwoThree Logistics.

Bound for China: the inaugural export train to Yiwu, China, with loading completed at DP World London Gateway terminal on 10 April 2017. No 66136 took the 30 containers to Dollands Moor on the first leg of the 17-day journey.
Antony Guppy