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Transportation in Kazakhstan

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.


  • Total: 15,300 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines
  • Broad gauge: 15,300 km of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11"56) gauge (3,299 km electrified) (1997)
  • City metro systems: Almaty

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"56). 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"½); thus there is a break-of-gauge at the eastern border at Dostyk.

The Kazakhstani transport system has problems because rail routes were designed ignoring intersoviet borders, there are anamolies such as the route from Ural’sk to Aktobe briefly passes through Russian territory.

Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ; Kazakh: Қазақстан Темiр Жолы (ҚТЖ)), also National Company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, is the national railway company of Kazakhstan. 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.


  • Total: 258,029 km
    • paved: 247,347 km
    • unpaved: 10,682 km (2006 est.)


  • Total: 83
    • over 3,047 m: 5
    • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
    • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
    • 914 to 1,523 m: 10
    • under 914 m: 53 (2006 est.)
  • Biggest airport: Astana International Airport

Ports and harbors

  • Caspian Sea:
    • Aqtau (Shevchenko) – railhead 1524 mm
    • Atyrau (Gur’yev) – railhead 1524 mm
  • On rivers:
    • Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk)
    • Pavlodar
    • Semey (Semipalatinsk)


3,900 km on the Syrdariya (Syr Darya) and Ertis (Irtysh)


  • Crude oil: 10,338 km
  • Refined products: 1,095 km
  • Natural gas: 11,019 km (2006)