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First U.K.-China Freight Train To Pass Through Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan

A Chinese train, part of the Silk Road project, arrives in Tehran last year

The first freight train to run from Britain to China departed on April 10 and will pass through Russia and Kazakhstan before arriving at its destination on China's east coast.

The train will travel 12,000 kilometers carrying goods like baby products, whiskey, and pharmaceuticals in what London hopes will be the first of many export trains to the far east as it prepares to exit the European Union.

The journey following the ancient Silk Road will take three weeks, around half the time needed to get to the same destination by boat. The first freight train from China arrived in Britain in January filled with clothes and other retail goods.

The bright red train is run by Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment and is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's "One Belt, One Road" initiative. London is the 15th European city to have a direct rail link with China.

From London, it will pass through the Channel Tunnel into France, and go on to Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan before reaching China.

The train's 32 containers will be taken off and put on different wagons at the Belarus border, as the former Soviet Union countries use a wider rail gauge.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters