For China, rail is emerging as a primary link to the West.
In ancient times, China’s Han Dynasty utilized a network of trade routes, also known as the Silk Road, to connect its kingdom to Central Asia and the Arab World. Today, China is are taking similar steps towards globalization with a modern, rail-based Silk Road.
Landmark ground has recently been broken in China’s ambitious rail expansion. On January 13, China Railway’s East Wind train completed its first 17-day, 7,456 mile trek from Yiwu, China, to London. London is the fifteenth European city to be added to China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative, and more cities are on the way.
In addition to being an efficient means of freight transportation, this route has morphed into a geopolitical statement. With the UK’s future trade dealings with the EU uncertain in the wake of Brexit, China has swooped in to fill this gap.