According to Christian Wolmar, a rail historian and author of the forthcoming book "To the Edge of the World," all manner of operational challenges must first be overcome.
"Individual countries tend to use different styles, technologies, signaling systems and gauges," Wolmar explained. "That means creating a link across several nations is problematic ... and incredibly expensive."
"Then there is also the politics. Can you go through northern Turkey or Iraq or Iran?
"But that's not to say they (trains) don't have benefits. There is fantastic potential as they are a relatively green and sustainable mode of transport and can take vast loads with just a couple of people driving a train," he added.
Binyon also notes these difficulties but concurs with Wolmar's final point.
He highlights how the Chongqing to Duisburg route has already overcome some of the standardization challenges by having cargo containers transferred to cars with new gauges at relevant border crossings to meet varying national track requirements.
"If you can simplify it, if you can unify customs agreements and if you can have a standard operating system with rules agreed by all those along the route," he said, then railways are "an extremely efficient way of moving large numbers of people and freight from one population center to the other."