The 16,156-mile round trip on the new Yixin’ou cargo line through China, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France and Spain took four months. The train arrived laden with cheap goods and returned with expensive olive oil.
The 82-container cargo train began its journey in November in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu.
Packed full of Christmas trinkets and decorations, stationery and craft products, it arrived in Madrid on 14 December, in time for shops to stock up on cheap Chinese goods.
Before the Yixin’ou line was opened, goods traded between Europe and China depended on inefficient sea or air transport, meaning higher prices for the goods in Europe.