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First UK-China train finishes 12,000-km, 19-day journey

Laden with whisky and baby milk, the first freight train linking China directly to the UK arrived in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu today after a 12,000-kilometre (7,500-mile) trip, becoming the world's second-longest rail route. "The train arrived at around 9:30am (1:30 GMT) to Yiwu on Saturday," the Yiwu Tianmeng Industry Company said.

The train — which was also carrying pharmaceuticals and machinery — departed from London on April 10 and passed through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan during its 20-day trip before arriving in Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province, a major wholesale centre for small consumer goods. The new route is longer than Russia's famous Trans- Siberian railway, but about 1,000 kilometres shorter than the record-holding China-Madrid link, which opened in 2014.

London is the 15th city to be linked to a new freight network offered by the state-run China Railway Corporation, which says its services are cheaper than air transport and quicker than shipping. The journey should be 30 days faster than moving goods by ship, the provincial government had said, but the pilot run took two days more than the 18 days expected.
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