China has launched its first freight train to London on Sunday (1 Jan), the China Railway Corporation said.
Departing from Yiwu West Railway Station in eastern Zhejiang Province, the train will travel for about 18 days and more than 12,000 kilometers to reach Britain. A sea-freight, in comparison, would take about a month from Shanghai to London.
The direct rail freight service to London that has been launched is part of China's drive to develop trade and investment ties with Europe.
China Railway already runs services between China and other European cities, including Madrid and Hamburg.
The freight will go through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before arriving in London.
London is the 15th city in Europe added to China-Europe freight train services.
The increase of routes linking is part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure and trade network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, a strategy launched in 2013 to boost infrastructure links along the former Silk Road trading routes.
The China Railway Corporation said the service will improve trade ties between China and Britain, and strengthen connectivity with western Europe.