Yiwu–Madrid railway line
The Yiwu - Madrid Railway line is a railway route taken by container trains from the Chinese city of Yiwu to the Spanish city of Madrid, a distance of roughly 10,000 kilometres (about 6,111 miles ), 741 kilometres more than the Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest until now. It is one of several routes used by long distance freight trains on the "New Eurasian Land Bridge". (Other city pairs connected by regular freight trains running between China and Europe include e.g. Lianyungang and Rotterdam, or Yiwu and Warsaw; as of 2016, at least 12 Chinese cities and 9 European ones were connected by similar trains.)
From Yiwu, a trading centre 300 km south of Shanghai, the track passes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France, terminating at the Spanish capital. China, Poland and Western Europe have Standard gauge track, while Russia and Belarus use Russian gauge, and Spain, an even wider Iberian gauge. Therefore, trains go through Bogie exchange (or, more likely, have containers reloaded to rail cars of a different gauge) at Dostyk, Kazakhstan, Brest, Belarus, and Hendaye. The journey takes 21 days. In comparison, a sea journey would take six weeks, and road transport would cause about three times as much pollution (114 tonnes of CO2 against 44 tonnes by rail).
The international project follows Chinese President Xi Jinping’s promise to establish an "economic belt" along the historic Silk Road and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for "a new wave of industrialisation across the Eurasian continent".
- "The Silk Railway: freight train from China pulls up in Madrid", Guardian, 10th December 2014
- Shepard, Wade (2016-01-28), "Why The China-Europe 'Silk Road' Rail Network Is Growing Fast", Forbes
- "China flags train to Madrid to revive Silk Route", Atul Aneja, The Hindu, 23rd November, 2014