Chongqing Express – Bustling freight trains like this 41-carriage vehicle are a common site along the Chongqing to Duisburg rail route -- a modern "Silk Road" carrying goods from Asia to Europe and back again.
All aboard! – The famous trade route once catered for wandering tradesmen carrying the likes of jade, spices and, of course, silk. Electronic components and computer parts are a more familiar cargo these days.
The new Silk Road? – The 11,179-kilometer network stretches across six countries (China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany).
Changing gauges – Chinese and European railways use different gauges than their Russian and former Soviet-nation counterparts, meaning cargo has to be transferred to suitable carriages at the borders of Kazakhstan and Germany.
Trans-Siberian Express – The Chongqing Duisburg rail-link is not the first to connect Asia and Europe. The Trans-Siberian Railway (pictured) has transported goods and people from Moscow to the Pacific-coast city of Vladivostok for just under a century.
Out in the open – A train heads into the vast hinterland of rural Kazakhstan. An array of other routes for trans-continental rail travel have been identified by the likes of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia.