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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Silk Road railway begins Madrid away leg

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Freight train ‘Yixinou’ has set off on the 13,000-kilometre return journey from Madrid to Yiwu on China’s east coast.

In December 2014, the 1,400-tonne train arrived at the Abroñigal freight yard in Madrid having completed the first ever rail freight service between China and Spain.

The rail corridor is being described as a 21st century Silk Road – named after the historic transcontinental trade route famous for transporting Chinese silk.

Spain’s Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Julio Gómez-Pomar, was in Madrid on May 18 to see Yixinou begin the return journey to China loaded with products like wine, oil and mineral water.

Throughout its 21-day run, the train will pass through France, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Following the trial, Spain and China hope to operate a regular bi-directional service.



  1. Curious to know if the one locomotive is doing the full return trip, how are gauge changes dealt with. China is standard gauge, but there are a number of different gauges on the journey.

    • Correct. Several different locomotives and several different crews to operate them. No automatic gauge changing system either – containers have to be transferred to a different train as far as we’re aware.

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