The Anonymous Widower

A New Gateway To China: Europe Prepares For The Launch Of Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Global Rail News. This is the first two paragraphs.

A new rail corridor linking Azerbaijan and Turkey via Georgia is set to launch in September, establishing a new freight and passenger link between Europe and China.

Every year, millions of tonnes of cargo is expected to be transported on the 825km line.

Baku, which is the Eastern terminus of the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway,  is the capital of Azerbaijan and is a port on the Caspian Sea. It is connected to Turkmenbashi on the other side of the sea, which is the Western terminus of the Trans-Caspian Railway, which leads to Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and China.

At the other end of the line Kars in Turkey is connected to the European rail network.

Freight forecasts for the route in the Global Rail News article are bullish.

According to estimates, by the third year the annual turnover of cargo on BTK will be three to five million tonnes, rising to six to eight million by its fifth year and more than 10 million tonnes in its 10th. By 2034 this figure is anticipated to reach 17 million tonnes of annual freight.

Wikipedia also says this.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project is intended to complete a transport corridor linking Azerbaijan to Turkey (and therefore Central Asia and China to Europe) by rail. (In late 2015, a goods train took only 15 days to travel from South Korea to Istanbul via China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia—considerably less time than a journey by sea.)

The sea journey takes between four and six weeks.

This article on the BBC is entitled All aboard the China-to-London freight train. This is an except from the article describing why Tesco use trains to get goods from China to the UK.

The UK’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, doesn’t have any goods on this particular train but does use rail to carry toys, electrical goods, homeware and clothing from China to European rail hubs such as Bratislava in Slovakia and Krasnaje in Belarus.

Alistair Lindsay, Tesco’s head of global logistics, says the supermarket prefers shipping its goods because this is the most environmentally friendly way, as well as offering the best value for money, but that “where we need to move products quicker we have that option to do it by rail”.

This decision would normally be driven by customer demand for particular products, he says.

So it’s all about value-for-money and customer demand.


I am drawn to the conclusion, that the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway will meet the forecasts.

It has the great advantage over some of the other routes, that it avoids Putin’s Russia, which must be a good thing.


September 30, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

China To The UK By Freight Train

This article in the Railway Gazette is entitled First China to UK rail freight service arrives in London.

The article describes in detail how 34 containers came all the way to Barking by train.

It is very much a route-proving exercise at the moment and the UK shipment was effectively part of a larger shipment that was split at Duisburg

in Germany.

The trip can be summarised as follows.

  • The trip took seventeen days, which was faster than container ship.
  • The trip is slower, but a lot cheaper than air-freight.
  • The trip is 12,000 kilometres.
  • There were two changes to gauge and transshipment of the containers on the route.

It is intended to run the trains for three or four months to assess demand.

The article finishes like this.

The project supports the Chinese government’s One Belt, One Road trade connectivity initiative to create a modern-day Silk Road. According to DB around 40 000 containers were transported by rail along the routes between China and Europe in 2016, with journey times of between 12 and 16 days. Annual traffic is expected to increase to 100 000 containers by 2020.

If these figures are achieved, it certainly looks like the route could be approaching viability.

In How To Move 100,000 Containers A Year Between Germany And China, I wrote about German plans to create a standard gauge railway from Germany to China via Georgia, that would avoid Russia and all the gauge-changing.

Without the gauge-change, this would surely be a faster route, thus increasingly viability.

There’s going to be an interestimg commercial battle in the next bfew years between the various metods of getting freight between Europe and China.


January 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | 2 Comments

How To Move 100,000 Containers A Year Between Germany And China

This article on Global Rail News is entitled DB and Georgian Railways to cooperate on new Silk Road rail corridor.

It described how Deutsche Bahn and Georgian Railways have signed an agreement to develop a new rail freight route between the Far East and Europe.

This map from the article, shows the various rail routes across Eurasia and how the new Silk Road will fit in.

DB transports more container by train between China and Germany

DB transports more container by train between China and Germany

I think the most interesting thing about the new route, is that it doesn’t go through Russia.

Vladimir Putin will not be amused!

If you read the Wikipedia entry for Georgian Railways, it does list a few problems, but it would appear that the route across Georgia is being upgraded to Standard Gauge all the way from the Turkish border to Almaty in Kazakhstan.

With Germany, Turkey and Europe at the Western end and China at the Eastern end both predominately Standard Gauge, I think that this route will be all the same gauge.

When this happens, trains will be able to go straight through, with perhaps just a change of locomotive.

How long will it be before, an enthusiastic entrepreneur starts to run a passenger service between Europe and China. Trans-Siberian Express eat your heart out!

Vladimir Putin will be even less amused!

If DB can build the Standard Gauge railway through to China via Georgia, it will give the following benefits.

  • Services will be faster than the Russian routes.
  • There will no change of gauge, which means unloading one train and loading another.
  • If the line is electrified, this will make the route more efficient.
  • Freight will move smoothly across Asia avoiding the pariah that is Russia.
  • The route avoids the more volatile parts of the Middle East.
  • Countries on the route like Serbia, Turkey, Georgia and Kazahkstan will surely benefit.
  • The route will surely be more accessible to Southern European countries, than the current Russian routes.

It is undoubtedly a good plan.

July 7, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

China, Russia And The EU’s Intermarium Bloc

The title of this post is the title of this article on the euobserver web site.

It is an interesting read, which talks about how trade routes will develop between Europe, Russia and China.

Incidentally, I found it, because it talks about Rail Baltica, which I think is an important project that could bring benefits to the Baltic States.

March 15, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

IKEA Gives More To The Philippines Than China

Hard to believe, but it’s true, and is fully reported in the Guardian.

China has given $2m, whilst IKEA has given $2.7m.

Japan, the United States and Australia have given a lot more.

November 15, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , | 1 Comment

The Dalston House Reaches China

I’ve just picked up an article on the Dalston House on a Chinese web site.

So I suppose we’ll now see Dalston Houses all over China.

June 30, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Politicians Who Dye Their Hair

I can never understand, why people dye their hair!

I have a grey beard, but since going gluten-free, that seems as far as it got.

My late wife never dyed her hair and she was a natural dark blonde, with odd hairs of other colours, including grey and brown.  Her hairdresser, who also cut mine at the time told me a funny story about her.  He had just cut C’s hair and was preparing a very smart lady, who wanted her hair dyed a different colour. He asked her what colour she wanted and she said how about that, pointing to C. He had difficulty keeping a straight face as he told the lady it was totally natural.

My reason for this post is because I’ve just read this article about Chinese politicians dying their hair on the BBC’s web site. It shows how vain some of our leaders can get, especially as the previous Chinese leader had grey hair, as do many Chinese of my age you see in the UK.

I also remember seeing a speech by John Major, where he said he’d been accused of dying his hair, which of course he didn’t. I wrote about it here.

But we may accuse John Major of ,many things, but vanity is not one of them!

March 12, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

The Man Who Outsourced Himself

This curious tale shows the power of the Internet. an obviously intelligent employee in the US, got a consulting firm in China to do his job, using the Internet.

I bet he’s not the only one who’s doing this!

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Computing, News | , , | Leave a comment

They Don’t Even Stop On Christmas Day

I’ve just had one of those silly job offer messages from a Chinese company called BMT Chemicals.

Our company BMTChemicals CC requires international payment receiving agents. If you are interested in this position please write back with your Full name, Address and Phone number for more information. 

I can only guess what will happen if I replied. It certainly wouldn’t be beneficial to me.

December 25, 2012 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Onion Gets Taken As The Truth

I like stories like this, where a humorous piece from a satirical web site like The Onion, gets taken as the truth, by the media in some country where freedom and press don’t go anywhere together. This time it’s China that gets fooled, but Iran has been duped in the past.

The trouble is that these countries wouldn’t make fun of a serious leader so wouldn’t know humour if it hit them in the face.

I wonder if they have April Fools’ Day in China and Iran?

November 28, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | 2 Comments