Yet Another Rail “First” for the Chinese.

 For the record, let’s give the Chinese their due.  

A little more than two weeks ago, with all the appropriate pomp and ceremony, a freight train stacked with containers left the city of Yiwu — it’s about 175 miles south of Shanghai — and set out on an inaugural rail journey to Madrid, Spain, a distance of some 6200 miles.

And, yes, it’s a big deal, because that is now the longest rail journey in the world, eclipsing by almost 500 miles the traditional Trans-SIberian route from Moscow to Vladivostok. The Yiwu-Madrid route is supposedly a 21-day journey for a freight train. Right now, with the inaugural trip still underway, that’s just someone’s best guess. But if they’re right, the inaugural train should arrive in Madrid sometime over the next two or three days. 

I had just started telling my wife about this at dinner last night when she interrupted: 

“Don’t even THINK about it!”  

I hastily assured her that this new rail line is for freight only … that there are no passenger trains operating on it.

“Not YET, you mean,” she said. “But they’re going to carry passengers on that route. It’s just a question of time. And you’ll want to go.” 

Then she added, quite unnecessarily, “I know you train guys!”

Yes she does.