With the beginning of the new year, another milestone in container block train traffic between China and Europe has been set: The first test train from China to London arrived recently. The direct rail connection to the UK, made possible thanks to the Channel Tunnel, is a historic event.
Once again, the InterRail Group, headquartered in Switzerland, has been appointed as the operator of a pioneer train. The distance between Yiwu and Barking, UK, is about 12,000 km. The container train with 44 x 40’ boxes ex point of departure Yiwu (ten of the containers were destined for Duisburg) carried mostly textile goods and reached the DB Cargo London Eurohub at Barking, UK.
In offering such products and establishing new routes, InterRail benefits from the good cooperation with its long time partners. The Chinese Railways subsidiary CRIMT contracted InterRail. For the CIS leg of the route between Dostyk and Brest, InterRail subcontracted KTZ Express, a subsidiary of Kazakh Railways. It also subcontracted rail freight operator DB Cargo AG and DB Cargo UK. DB Cargo AG operated the train across Germany from Duisburg to Aachen. At the Duisburg container terminal, the 34 x 40’ containers destined for the UK were transloaded onto special DB container platforms approved for the Channel Tunnel. DB Cargo UK ran the service from Calais in France to its London Euro hub at Barking via the Channel Tunnel.
For several years InterRail has been active as a leading operator of trains between China and Europe; especially during the past 24 months, the company added new products and trade lanes to its portfolio. Among them are open trains that can be loaded with single containers or container groups, but also LCL traffic from China to Europe as well as freight transport on board special wagons between Russia, Central Asia and Iran. In terms of geography, InterRail launched, among others, new train connections ex China to Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia.