Double celebration in China: 50,000th train leaves to Europe

The train ready to depart from Chengdu.

Right before China transitioned into the New Year according to its calendar, it saw another reason to celebrate. On 29 January the 50,000th China-Europe train embarked on its journey towards the west.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the departure of train X8086/5 from Chengdu Chengxiang station marked the magic number of 50,000 trains since the beginning. This beginning was around ten years ago, when the first China-Europe trains pioneered across the continents. In the year 2011, a marginal 17 trains were counted on the New Silk Road.

Doubling every year

This number saw a big boost when in 2013 China’s President Xi Jinping officially launched the Belt and Road initiative, with the aim of increasing the connectivity between China and Europe. The train was to play a central role in this.

Over the years, the figures more than doubled every year, and more and more cities were added to the Eurasian corridor. At present, the China-Europe train reaches 180 cities in 23 European countries. In 2021, the number of trains between Europe and China amounted to 15,000, a year-on-year increase of 22 per cent.

Number of trains between Europe and China. Source: China Customs

Quality over quantity

It is going well with the China-Europe train, that is clear for everyone to see. At the same time, it has been pointed out by many players that it is not all in the number of trains. The quality of the service must also be maintained, and the number of trains should be of secondary importance, is a generally held belief in the industry.

This is especially true in the current situation, where the corridor is congested and delays are more frequent than in the years before. Bundling cargo to make better use of capacity, route expansion as well as infrastructure upgrades are just some of the solutions at hand.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

4 comments op “Double celebration in China: 50,000th train leaves to Europe”

Mike Vickers|02.02.22|16:25

Saves super ships blocking the Suez Canal
And causing weeks of disruption
Did you know that a number of ships rounding Cape of Good Hope have broken their backs due to colossal waves rounding the Cape too.

Phillip Fine|02.02.22|17:30

But what China really wants is a standard-gauge line all the way to Europe. This would speed up deliveries immeasurably.

joseph farley|03.02.22|03:57

These are the kinds of articles that must be presented to the American, T.V. prime time audience.


Standard-gauge line makes total sence but is it feasible in a ten year period? Dreaming of a bullet train ride Budapest/Beijing.

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