Europe

New Silk Road? 1st China-London freight train arrives

The first direct freight train service from China to the United Kingdom arrives at a rail freight terminal in Barking, east London, Wednesday Jan. 18, 2017. Some 34 containers packed with mainly clothes and other high street goods completed the 7,456-mile (11,999km) journey in 18 days. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

The first direct freight train service from China to the United Kingdom arrives at a rail freight terminal in Barking, east London, Wednesday Jan. 18, 2017. Some 34 containers packed with mainly clothes and other high street goods completed the 7,456-mile (11,999km) journey in 18 days. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The first direct freight train service from China to London has arrived.

The 18-day trip saw dozens of containers packed mainly with clothes transported from the city of Yiwu in eastern China to Barking in east London, via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland and western Europe.

The train entered Britain from France through the Channel Tunnel, completing a 7,456-mile (11,999 km) journey.

The service is faster than sending goods by sea. Weekly trains will initially be run to assess demand.

China Railway already has freight services to European destinations including Madrid and Hamburg. They are part of efforts to revive the fabled Silk Road trading routes to the West.