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The first train to run along an 8,111 mile direct rail link between China and Spain has completed its maiden journey. Carrying 30 containers, with 1,400 tonnes of cargo mostly for Christmas sales, it will return, taking three weeks, with a cargo of wine, ham and olive oil in time for Chinese new year in February. It boasts half the transit time of sea freight, and a 62% reduction in CO2 when compared with road. However, different rail gauges in different countries mean the cargo needs to be transhipped three times during the journey, and the locomotive changed every 500 miles. The service is operated by InterRail Services, DB Schenker Rail and its Spanish offshoot Transfesa.

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