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China Opens World’s Largest Train Route that Passes Through Six Countries

Gone are the times when traders use to take long roads to sell their goods. The good old Silk Route is the finest example of trade culture we had in the past. However, the recent time has managed to shrink the time difference between continents and cities. We have cargo ships, planes and trains doing the trading for us. Creating another history, China has unveiled the world’s longest train route connecting Yiwu and Madrid.

Dubbed Yixinou, the 82-wagon cargo train is expected to take 21 days to travel 6,200 miles. During this journey, the train passes through six countries between China and Spain, which is the world’s most recent longest train route.

On Tuesday, Yixinou left Yiwu, an industrial centre in People’s Republic of China, and is expected to reach Madrid in December after traversing Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France. The total distance covered by the new rail route is greater than that of the world’s longest train service, the 9,259 km Moscow-Vladivostok Rossinya 002.

But unlike the Russian train, goods on the Yiwu-Madrid route will have to be shifted onto different wagons at three points due to incompatible track gauges in different countries, including between France and Spain.

Yiwu is the biggest wholesale hub in the world and the Chinese authorities wanted to connect it by rail to Europe, one of the city’s biggest markets. The line opens a more efficient channel for Yiwu’s small commodities to go abroad, with the city previously relying heavily on air and marine transportation, said a customs official in Yiwu Lin Jiang. The Yixinou rail line opened freight traffic between Yiwu and Central Asia in January.

Test operations for the route, which began at the start of this year, left Yiwu and terminated in Central Asia, reportedly brought an additional $39 million boost to the coastal region’s export value. China’s President, Xi Jinping, was optimistic about the future of China-Europe train connections when meeting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajov in Beijing earlier this fall.