Qazaqstan Temir Zholy
Founded by the government in 2002 as a joint stock company KTZ’s task is to develop, operate, and maintain railway transportation in Kazakhstan. It is headquartered in Astana. Related stock companies own the rolling stock, the hauling equipment, and the passenger transport division. Repair facilities have been privatized. Private companies may own or rent rolling stock that can use the rail system.
The current rail network is based on the inheritance from the former Soviet Union and as such has a broad gauge of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 5⁄6 in). While this provides a smooth transit at international borders to countries of the former Soviet Union, the railway in China has the standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in); thus there is a break-of-gauge at the eastern borders at Dostyk and at Korgas.1
KTZ controls about 15,000 km (9,300 mi) track (2005) which is being expanded. The Kazakhstan sections of the old Trans-Aral Railway, the Trans-Caspian railway, and the Turkestan-Siberia Railway have become incorporated into the KTZ. 3000 km are electrified at 25 kV 50 Hz AC.
KTZ is the largest employer in Kazakhstan with about 143,000 employees (2008).2 It manages over 80,000 wagons, 50,000 of them state-owned, and the remainder in private hands. While most of the hauling is done by diesel engines, electrification of track is an ongoing project. The company is profitable and its 2008 revenues were 483.8 billion Kazakhstani tenge (US$3.9 billion).2
Kazakhstan has started to build wagons for KTZ and is expected to produce engines in conjunction with GE in 2008.3
The potential of Kazakhstan to act as a transit in the trade between China, Europe, and even the eastern coast of America, as envisioned in the Trans-Asian Railway proposal, has not yet been fulfilled. Current rail transport between China and Europe as part of the Eurasian Land Bridge goes over the Trans-Siberian railway, is lengthy, and requires bogie exchanges.
KTZ is engaging on the TransKazakhstaniTrunk Railways (TKTR), a major railroad project to link China and Southeast Asia to Europe for a length of 2,400 miles (3,862 km). China and most of Europe use the standard rail gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in), and the TKTR will utilize the same gauge, avoiding costly delays at bogie exchange stations. The route to Europe will be shortened and laid out for high speed. It is estimated that it will be possible eventually to ship cargo in 7-10 days (half the current time by rail) from China’s ports to Europe. The sea transport takes about 40-65 days. A similar project was already proposed in the 1930s but vetoed by Joseph Stalin. The railway would also open up areas of Kazakhstan for exploration of minerals and oil. Currently the plan is to run the railway through Turkmenistan to Iran; Iran is linked to Turkey and Europe's standard gauge system.4
Construction for the new line will start at the eastern border town of Druzhba to go to Aktau on the Caspian Sea. Construction is expected to start in 2006 and take four years. The total cost of the project is $ 5-7 billion.5 A link from Aktau to Iran is also required.
An alternative route would be to build a standard gauge link through Russia and either Belarus or Ukraine to match the European standard rail system. Such a line would shorten the China-Europe connection but also compete with the Trans-Siberian railway.
The transport corridor through Kazakhstan has the potential to provide a railway-ship link between China and the east coast of North America through the Northern East West corridor.6
- Russia - same gauge (former Soviet Union railway system)
- China - break of gauge 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 5⁄6 in)/1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in); border stations at Druzhba (connecting to Alashankou on the Lanxin railway) and at Korgas.
- Kyrgyzstan - same gauge (former Soviet Union railway system)
- Uzbekistan - same gauge (former Soviet Union railway system)
In October 2010, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy ordered 295 KZ8A electric locomotives from Alstom, for both freight and passenger services.7 On October 3, the first train of this order was delivered during an official ceremony. While the first 10 pre-series of KZ8A locomotives are being manufactured at Alstom’s Belfort facility, the remaining will be built in Astana, in the new Alstom plant in Kazakhstan which will be inaugurated on December 12, 2012. Besides, on October 8, 2012, KTZ signed its first maintenance contract with Alstom for the full maintenance, major overhaul and modernization of 27 passenger locomotives KZ4AC for a period of 25 years.8
- "Second China – Kazakh link inaugurated". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
- CBonds: Moody's places KTZ's and Kaztemirtrans' ratings on review for possible downgrade
- GE connection
- TKTR project
- TKTR project
- *Northern East West Corridor
- "Railway Gazette: Kazakhstan signs contract for 295 Alstom-TMH locomotives". Retrieved 2010-10-31.
- "Alstom Signs a First Maintenance Contract for the Kazakh Railways KTZ". The Gazette of Central Asia (Satrapia). 8 October 2012.
- "Talgo to renew Kazakh coach fleet - International Railway Journal". 2010-11-14. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Qazaqstan Temir Zholy|
- KTZ official website
- Report on KTZ
- Interview with Chairman of KTZ
- UN report on Trans Asian Railway