UK – China train passes through Poland
10 April 2017 will be remembered as the day the first freight train departed United Kingdom to head to China. The newly-created train connection, part of the New Silk Road, is to strengthen the trade links between the East and the West. Poland plays an important role and is a member of the trade link as well.
The Chinese train, whose journey started at the rail station in Stanford-Le-Hope, Essex county (situated less than 40 kilometres from London), will reach its destination, the Chinese city of Yiwu, Zhejiang province, in 18 days. On its way, the freight will pass through two continents and seven countries: France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.
The rail connection is for goods only, the trains will not carry any passengers. They will transport such items as food supplements, medication, electronics, cars and clothing. Poland is an important section of the 12-thousand-kilometre-long journey. It is here that the train will need to be serviced so that it is able to move on the Easter European rail tracks, which have broader gauge than that in the rest of the continent.
The train is on the way back to the east part of China. It arrived in the United Kingdom in January. As it stopped at a freight terminal in Łódź, Poland, its arrival in was attended by the President of Poland Andrzej Duda and the President of China Xi Jinping, who visited the country at that time. This shows that both countries see the New Silk Road project as very important.
Although the clear majority of global freight is carried out by sea routes, New Silk Road is surely an interesting option for traders. Train transportation is more expensive than sea freight, but at the same time it is much quicker. While a train reaches Yiwu in 18 days, a container ship normally gets there in 30 to 40 days.
Freight trains are to travel between the UK and China on a weekly basis. Currently, China has rail connections with 15 European cities, UK included.