First Britain-China direct freight train arrives back in China

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The first freight train to run from Britain to China arrived in the city of Yiwu in eastern China on Saturday, completing its 12,000-km journey.

The train was greeted by traders and shipping company officials when it arrived at Yiwu West station after departing London on April 10 carrying items such as vitamins, baby products and pharmaceuticals.

The first freight train from China arrived in Britain in January.

Operated by Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment, the Yiwu-London freight service makes London the 15th European city to have a direct rail link with China after the 2013 unveiling of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“This freight train is a reflection of the achievements of trade,” Yiwu Timex Chairman Timmy Feng told Reuters Television.

After leaving London the bright red train passed through seven countries -- France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan -- before arriving in Yiwu.

For Britain, the train is part of an effort to strengthen trade links with the rest of the world as it prepares to leave the European Union in two years’ time.

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