Kazakhstan Railways

About Kazakhstan Railways

Railways provide 68% of all cargo and passenger traffic to over 57% of the country. There are 15,333 km (9,527 mi) in common carrier service, excluding industrial lines. All railway lines in Kazakhstan are built in 1,520 mm (4 ft 11+2732 in) gauge, of which 4,000 km (2,500 mi) is electrified (2012).

Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) is the national railway company. KTZ cooperates with French loco manufacturer Alstom in developing Kazakhstan’s railway infrastructure. Alstom has more than 600 staff and two joint ventures with KTZ and its subsidiary in Kazakhstan. In July 2017, Alstom opened its first locomotive repairing center in Kazakhstan. It is the only repairing center in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

As the Kazakhstani rail system was designed during the Soviet era, rail routes were designed ignoring inter-Soviet borders, based on the needs of Soviet planning. This has caused anomalies, such as the route from Oral to Aktobe passing briefly through Russian territory. It also means that routes might not suit modern-day Kazakhstani needs.

Kazakhstan’s developed railway system promotes international and regional trade connecting Asia and Europe. In 2019, the transit of goods through Kazakhstan increased 23% to 664,000 containers.

Railway links with adjacent countries
  • Russia Russia – same gauge (former Soviet Union railway system)
  • China China  break of gauge 1,520 mm (4 ft 11+2732 in)/1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in);
    • Border station at Druzhba, KZ – Alashankou, CN, connection between the Turkestan–Siberia Railway and the Northern Xinjiang Railway (no electrification on them).
    • Another connection exist from Altynkol Railway Station near Khorgas to the Jinghe–Yining–Khorgos Railway towards Ürümqi.
  • Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan – same gauge (former Soviet Union railway system)
  • Uzbekistan Uzbekistan – same gauge (former Soviet Union railway system)
  • Turkmenistan Turkmenistan – same gauge (former Soviet Union railway system) (railway link opened in 2013, presently for freight)
  • Caspian Sea  railhead 1,520 mm

The strategy of transport development in Kazakhstan until 2015 is to build 1,600 km (990 mi) of new electrified and 2,700 km (1,700 mi) of existing railway stations.

In 2006, a standard gauge rail link from China to Europe was proposed.

In 2007, it was proposed to eliminate break of gauge at Druzhba-Alashankou by converting the Kazakhstan main line to European gauge.

In 2008, BOOT line from Zhetigen to Khorgos on the China border. The line would branch off the existing railway near Shaquanzi.


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