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The New Silk Road: China Opens Beijing-London Freight Train Route
World's longest rail route officially launched (CCSS Level: Grade 8, Words: 334)
Jan 5, 2017 World News
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At the beginning of 2017, the Chinese government officially launched a direct rail-freight service between China and London. The freight route travels across China, then runs through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before crossing the Channel to London. This is the first time there has been a rail link directly from China to Great Britain. From Germany, trains will also connect to Spain and Italy as well.

The rail line is over 11,000 kilometres end-to-end, making it the world's longest freight train route. At the moment it takes more than 40 days to get perishable goods to and from China by ship, which for many foodstuffs is just too long. Sending the food into China by air is very expensive and so is usually not cost effective. However the new railway link is much faster, taking 13 days or less. Even though rail is around 50% more expensive than ship, it is still very cost effective and efficient. Overland transportation is also seen as safer, avoiding risks such as pirates and typhoons!

The link was actually completed back in 2011, but was mainly used for bringing tech goods from China to Europe. Now that the route is officially open, a rapidly-growing two-way trade is expected to develop. Chinese consumers are expected to increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat as rapidly increasing incomes drive demand. European agricultural producers hope to benefit from this. For China, a direct route to Europe for their manufactured goods and clothing will bring huge rewards too.

The link is actually not really new at all. It roughly follows the ancient path of the so-called Silk Road, which began in 200 BC. Chinese silk caravans carried precious goods to Europe and Africa and the famous trail provided both wealth and prestige for the Chinese Empire of the day. Now, Beijing has brought back this historic trade route but this time instead of camels and horses, they are using rail power.

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real, in fact


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very old


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a-void

keep away from something


v.避免

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v,n.效益/好处

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to finish, end 


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finished or ended


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something really popular amongst a group of people


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the amount of something needed at one time


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with nothing in between


adv.直接

ef-fec-tive

able to produce a result


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ef-fi-cient

working without waste

 


adj.高效

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something seen as likely to happen


v.预期

ex-pen-sive

costing a lot of money


adj.昂贵

fa-mous  

well known


adj.著名

freight

goods carried by truck, train, ship or air

 


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the ruling body of a nation, state or community


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famous or important in history


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launched

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v.发射/推出

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adj.正式

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having great value


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a tropical storm in the western Pacific ocean


n.台风