ASTANA — Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov launched the construction of a vital railway line in the Almaty region during a Nov. 14 ceremony marking the commencement of the first link of the railway track, reported the Prime Minister’s press service.
The impetus behind the project arises from the unprecedented surge in rail freight transportation between Kazakhstan and China. The figures for 2022 marked a historic high, surpassing 23 million tons. In early 2023, this record was exceeded by an additional 22%. This surge has intensified the load on the Almaty railway junction, strategically positioned at the intersection of major international routes.
The newly initiated project aims to alleviate this burden by diverting freight traffic to the Zhetigen – Kazybek bek railway, circumventing the Almaty station. Projections suggest that the new line will reduce the load on the Almaty hub by 40%, significantly reducing cargo delivery times.
Prime Minister Smailov highlighted the dynamic growth observed on the Altynkol-Khorgos border crossing railway route in recent years.
“The Almaty railway junction plays a pivotal role in facilitating train traffic along four directions: Shu, Aktogay, Altynkol, and Almaty-2. The successful execution of this project will substantially cut down the delivery time for goods,” he said.
Smailov emphasized a commitment to local involvement, with at least 85% local content within the project, engaging 1,400 individuals in the construction and nearly 500 in the operational phase.
Kazakh PM further outlined that local companies would produce sleepers, rails, and transformers and supply of inert materials, sand, and crushed stone. The project encompasses laying 130 kilometers of railway tracks, the construction of three stations, 13 bridges, five railways, and one road overpass.
In the broader context of enhancing Kazakhstan’s railway infrastructure, efforts are underway to construct second tracks on the Dostyk-Moiynty railway section. At the same time, plans are in motion for the Bakhty – Ayagoz and Darbaza – Maktaaral railway lines, collectively spanning over 1,300 kilometers within the next three years.