LONDON: The first freight train travelling all the way from China to London has set off – on a journey that will cover a staggering 7,456 miles and pass through nine countries. The locomotive, stuffed with £4million worth of goods including socks and suitcases, departed from Yiwu West railway station in Zhejiang Province, China. Its epic journey will come to an end in Barking, east London, having been trundling along for 18 days. It is part of a drive to improve trade links with Europe, with the route cheaper than air freight and faster than transporting goods by sea. Its route will snake through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France and finally Britain. The train, carrying £4million worth of goods, will travel across nine countries on its journey to east London. The service is being run by the China Railway Corporation, and Britain is the eighth country to be added to its list of destinations, with London its 15th city. Madrid and Hamburg are among the European cities that the corporation transports goods to. The new route is set to boost trade ties between the UK and China with goods such as clothing and bags delivered along the re-established Silk Road, connecting Europe and Asia. The epic route is not the only lengthy railway journey between Europe and Asia that has been unveiled recently. A new Japanese plan envisages extending the Trans-Siberian railway, potentially allowing passengers to travel all the way from London to Tokyo by train – a distance of 6,000 miles.