Once valued by freight shippers as a cheaper option to the sea route between Asia and Europe before losing customers in the turmoil after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia's main artery traversing the Eurasian continent, is getting a refit.

Improvements are rapidly being made to allow trains to travel faster and carry more freight in a bid to revive the line's leading logistical role in connecting Asia, which has emerged as a driving force of the world economy, and Europe.

The renewed attention toward the railway, which is the world's longest at about 9,300 kilometers, also comes as the coronavirus pandemic causes a sharp decline in air cargo capacity and amid congestion at sea freight terminals and soaring costs for shipments between Asia and Europe.