Monday 9 January 2023

Kazakhstan Temir Zholy turns 25

On Transport Workers’ Day (7 August 2022) the 25th anniversary of KTZ was celebrated.

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31 January 1997 – The national railway company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) is founded. But Kazakhstan’s railways date back to the 19th century.

In the past 25 years, infrastructure in Kazakhstan has been transformed, new road sections have been built, existing motorways have been updated and modernised, and preparations are being made for the development of multimodal transport and logistics services.

Over the past years, the railway has become the backbone for the socio-economic development of Kazakhstan. Numerous railway lines have been built to develop the country’s export and transit potential, new stations have been built, the necessary social infrastructure has been established, and industries have been emerging and developing. The new lines have provided internal communication and given momentum to the development of the regions themselves, as well as facilitating transport communications and trade between Kazakhstan and the outside world. Therefore, Kazakhstan now ranks 19th in the world for railway length, counting 21 thousand kilometres.

At present, about 1% of Kazakhstan’s total population works on the country’s railways, with some of them representing railway families that have raised and nurtured several generations of railway workers.

Today, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy is a joint stock company and is also a transport and logistics holding, an operator of Kazakhstan’s main railway network, and a national railway carrier of goods and passengers.

KTZ is a modern, highly efficient organisation, able to meet the customer requirements in developed market competition, and the network is organically integrated into the continental transportation system with the state border of the Republic of Kazakhstan 24 railway lines crossing into neighbouring countries.

In 2022, the operational cargo turnover increased to a historic high of 239.3 billion t-km and the volume of transit traffic exceeded one million TEUs. After being in the red for a number of years, the company generated net profit in 2021, which enabled a significant increase in the production staff’s wages.

On Transport Workers’ Day (7 August 2022) the 25th anniversary of KTZ was celebrated, and Nurlan Sauranbayev, Chairman of KTZ, congratulated the railway workers for their work, while awards were given to honour the contribution of specialists and international organisations, including UIC, to the development of Kazakhstan’s railways.

KTZ has been an active member of UIC since 2004 and has played a key role in the Asia- Pacific region, acting as Vice-Chair until 2022.

On 4 August 2022, a technical coordination meeting was organised between the UIC Asia-Pacific region and KTZ in Astana, in order to present the UIC project activity programme 2022-2023 and project ideas for 2023 and 2024, and to evaluate the implementation of APRA projects in 2022.

KTZ organised a workshop on Railway Telecom and 5G for the APRA region and, in October 2022, participated in UIC/UNESCAP training. It also launched a project in 2022 on the research and analysis of hydrogen technologies for railway use (RAHT), in cooperation with the Almaty University of Power Engineering and Telecommunications (who signed a memorandum of understanding with UIC in 2021). KTZ has also completed other joint studies with APRA members such as the diagnostics of infrastructure facilities with equipment installed on locomotives (2018 with the Kazakh Academy of Transport and Communication KazATK), the “Unified information space for digital transport corridors” (2019 with TransTelecom), the “Predicting the maintenance of railway infrastructure with digital technologies” study (2020 with TransTelecom) and a workshop on «IRSs for regional interoperability» in 2021.

KTZ is a key author of projects for the APRA region and for 2023 has proposed a number of plans for different sectors, such as “Assessing the possibilities for using gas motor fuel”, “Using digital communication standards and data transmission networks in railway transport”, “Optimising the wheel tread profile”, “Developing a mathematical method for modelling the bearing capacity of railway bridges”, “Perspectives and national features for implementing the future railway radio communication standard for the Asia-Pacific Region’s railways”, “Big data for railway maintenance”, “Research on the development of technical recommendations to reconstruct and modernise traction substations”, and the “Development of remote control autonomous trains”.

It shows that the company has great capacity for research and innovation and UIC wishes the Kazakhstan Temir Zholy colleagues all the best.

For further information, please contact Irina Petrunina, UIC Adviser on CIS Countries and International Organisations at

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