Going for a spin... Railways continue to be deeply rooted in the UK's national psyche. Photo: AFP

A train headed for Yiwu, China left the English city of Barking on Monday, as Britain braces for its exit from the European Union.

British trade minister Greg Hands put the trade route in the context of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative saying that “this new rail link with China is another boost for global Britain, following the ancient Silk Road trade route to carry British products around the world.”

This first export train marks the start of regular direct service on the route between the UK and China.