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Although the first railroads in Kazakhstan have appeared at the turn of the 19-20th centuries (in 1893-1894 Pokrovsk Sloboda – Uralsk narrow-gauge railways line (1000 mm) with the length of 369 km, 113 km of them lies in Kazakhstan, later 190 km of the Trans-Siberian railway went through Kazakhstan near Petropavlovsk), opening in 1904 the Orenburg – Tashkent railway became the starting point for history of development of Kazakhstan railroads.

 It is the first Transkazakhstan railway reaching 1,668 kilometers from the border with Russia in the northwest to the border with Uzbekistan in the south.

 Since that time the railways became backbone infrastructure of social and economic development of Kazakhstan. Along railway lines new settlements and cities were built, industries arose and developed, social infrastructure was formed. Railway network connected with transport arteries all regions of the country, provided transport communications and turnover of Kazakhstan with the outside world.

 In 1914-1917 Semirechensky railway Arys – Pishpek is a part of the future of Turksib, in 1915 Chelyabinsk – Troitsk – Kostanay railway line is built (across Kazakhstan – 166 km). Also 122 km Altai railway (Novosibirsk - Semipalatinsk) constructed in 1915-1917 passes through Kazakhstan. Besides, 117-kilometer Ekibastuz – Yermak narrow-gage railway operated till 1918. Total length of steel railway line in the territory of Kazakhstan has reached nearly 2.6 thousand kilometers by 1918.

Petropavlovsk – Kokchetav built in 1920-1922 became the first railway of the Soviet period. It was continued through the Kurort-Borovoye and Akmolinsk station to Karaganda in 1926-1931, in connection with the need of development of remote regions of Kazakhstan and export of grain, its total length has exceeded 700 km. Kulunda – Pavlodar railway line has been constructed in 1924. Guryev (Atyrau) – Dossor narrow-gage railway contributed to development of oil fields of Emba since 1926.

 The construction of Turkestano-Sibirsky railway line (Turksib) 1,444 km long lasted in 1927-1930 became the landmark event. It has connected Kazakhstan with Siberia and contributed to fostering economic development of the republic and development of many desert lands.

Akmolinsk – Karaganda and Karaganda – Balkhash (490 km) districts, for the South – Chimkent – Lenger, created in the 30th, were important for the industry of the central part of Kazakhstan. Lokot – Zashita (235 km) railway line built in 1930, later continued to Leninogorsk and Zyryanovsk, played an important role in development of metal mining industry of Altai.

 Uralsk – Iletsk key district with access to Saratov, which has connected Kazakhstan with the Central Russia, was paved in 1936-1939.

 Guryev (Atyrau) — Kandagach – Orsk railway line built in 1936-1944, connected oilfields of Emba with Ural and improved the indication between several regions of Russia, proved its strategic importance during the Great Patriotic War.

Akmolinsk – Kartaly railway line created in 1939-1943, in particular, provided effective delivery of coal of Karaganda to South Ural was equal important. Koksu – Tekeli – Taldykorgan and Atasu – Karazhal districts have became operational in the same years. The length of the Kazakhstan steel railway line has reached 10,000 km. Also the period of the Great Patriotic War is noted by creation of production base on repair of the rolling stock and tracking facilities on the railways of Kazakhstan.

 Construction of Mointy – Shu (440 km) by 1950 became a key event of post-war years. The Trans-Siberian Railway has connected with Turkestan-Siberian and the first meridian line which has passed through all territory of the republic – the Transkazakhstan railway line Petropavlovsk – Kokchetav – Akmolinsk – Karaganda – Shu was formed. One of the main links of the Southern Siberian railway Akmolinsk (Astana) – Pavlodar (546 km) is built by 1953, beginning of its operation, in particular, has created conditions for the rapid development of the Ekibastuz coal basin and adjacent regions. (Only for 1953-1956 the volume of transportations in the North Kazakhstan has increased by 4 times).

 There was an intensive construction of the railroads in northern and central regions of Kazakhstan due to the development of virgin lands in the 1950th. In 1955-1961 Esil – Arkalyk (224 km), by 1959 – Kostanay – Tobol, by 1960 – Tobol – Dzhetygara railway line is created. Railway density of Kazakhstan has increased twice for the 1950th.

 The largest Kazakh railroad in the USSR is formed on July 1, 1958. Having extent over 11,000 km, it consisted of 15 offices and united all latitudinal and meridional railways connecting Kazakhstan to Siberia, Ural, the Volga region, Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. Makat – Mangyshlak and Mangyshlak – Uzen districts (total length nearly 900 km), contributed to development of desert edge, are paved in the 1960th. During this period intensive operation of the built Guryev – Astrakhan railway line contributed to revitalizing of links between Kazakhstan and Russia.

 Tselinograd (Astana) – Karaganda district was electrified for the first time in Kazakhstan in 1964. Work on electrification of the railroads mainly in the northern and central regions of the republic begins from this event. In particular, all Karaganda – Magnitogorsk district (1180 km) was transferred to electric draft in 1969-1970. Since 1980th electrification was developed on the southern railways: Mointy – Shu, Chengeldy – Arys, Arys – Tyulkubas. Total length of the electrified lines has approached 4,000 km.

 Three roads have been formed on the basis of the Kazakh railroad in April, 1977: Tselinnyy, Almaty and West Kazakhstan.

 All these years, construction and reconstruction of dozens of new stations continued, new types of locomotives, electric locomotives, maintenance vehicles, signaling and communications systems were put into operation, automatic equipment and IT systems were actively implemented since 1980th. There was one significant point of history of railway transport of Kazakhstan on February 20, 1986: the structure of 400 cars, weighing 43.4 thousand tons and 6.5 km long was carried out through Tselinnyy railroad for the first time in the world.

 From the middle of the 1950th much attention has been paid to development of railway operation with the People's Republic of China. Aktogay – Druzhba district is built in 1959. Construction of the railways designed to connect effectively the railroads of two countries was conducted by the Kazakhstan and Chinese side in 1956-1960. Works were resumed after achievement of the Soviet-Chinese agreements of 1988.

 Interface of railroads occurred in September, 1990 has formed border point connected Kazakhstan Druzhba station with the Chinese Alashankou station. The movement of freight trains has been open in a year: the Northern passage of the Trans-Asian railway line started its work. Respectively, development of reloading capacities of the border Kazakhstan Druzhba station has begun. Further considerable events in activity of the republic railroads have taken place in the period of the state independence of Kazakhstan – since December, 1991.

 In the 1990s with the collapse of the USSR Kazakhstan, as well as other countries of the former Union, was in a condition of the system reforms aimed at the transition to a market mechanism of economic performance.

 These events have not spared railway branch of the republic and the first step of transformations to branches started in 1997.

  In order to optimize management structure of transportation process and elimination of excessive links, financial and economic improvement of railway branch enterprises on the basis of three railroads the republican state enterprise “Kazakhstan Temir Zholy” was created.

 Besides, for improvement of a production and financial condition of branch, the decision on the need of restructuring of railway transport of the Republic of Kazakhstan and transfer all objects of the social sphere (schools, hospitals, houses of culture, sports centers, etc.) to the local executive bodies was made by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, thereby releasing the funds previously used for their maintenance. The railroad at that time contained about 6,000 objects of the social sphere, including trade and household, housing and municipal services, educational institutions, health care, culture and sport systems.

The next step was adoption of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On railway transport” by the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2001 and the Restructuring program of railway transport of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2001-2005 by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The program aimed at formation of conditions for development of the competitive market services in the sphere of repair of traction rolling-stock and creation of production cooperatives and private enterprises on the basis of repair branches of RSE Kazakhstan Temir Zholy.

On the basis of RSE Kazakhstan Temir Zholy National company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy closed joint-stock company with 100% of government's stake was created in 2002. The backbone railway network was transferred to possession and use of NC KTZ CJSC.

At the same time, there was corporatization of the affiliated state enterprises with transfer of 100% of government's stake to authorized capital of NC KTZ CJSC.

From 2002 to 2004 the enterprises supporting activities have been created: Military Railway Security Service, Zholzhondeushy, Remput, Kaztransservice, Kedentransservice, Transtelecom, Transport Service Center joint-stock companies, etc.

At the third step in 2004 NC KTZ CJSC was converted to National company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy joint-stock company and the Restructuring program of railway transport of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2001-2005 aimed at the development of the competition in branches and attraction of private investments was adopted.

Within implementation of the specified program on the basis of locomotive economy Lokomotiv JSC was created and all inventory rolling stock of cars is allocated in the independent enterprise Kaztemirtrans JSC.

Besides, conditions for private investments in branch have been created. So, the tariff had been divided into 4 components: infrastructure, locomotive, carriage, cargo and commercial work.

That has helped to create a market of car operators and to attract private investors in development of the private carriage rolling stock.

Since 2005 subsidies for covering of losses of passenger carriers began to be provided from the State budget.

During the same period the economy of Kazakhstan started to recover, volumes of freight and passengers by railway transport began to increase.

To provide optimal and effective transportations (distance, terms, price) increasing freight and passenger traffics and satisfaction of perspective requirements of the Kazakhstan industry and the population in competitive and high-quality transport and logistics services of NC KTZ JSC with assistance of the Head of state and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan launched the large-scale program of construction of the new railway lines.

Creation of national optimum network of Kazakhstan railroads has become particularly urgent after becoming independent as some regions and areas were cut off from each other, transport connection between them was carried out on districts of the neighboring state.

For example, railway communication of Pavlodar and East Kazakhstan regions, Central Kazakhstan with Western was carried out through the lines passing across the territory of Russia. Such problems resulted in the need for cross borders of other states for 2-3 times. It increased the freight transportation, it took extra time of passengers. Therefore, the need for construction of the new railroads became apparent since the first day of Independence.

The movement on new Aksu-Degelen 187 km long railway line was launched in 2001. The new road has opened the shortest way from the Semey region to Pavlodar.

The construction of Khromtau-Altynsarino 404 km long railway line which has connected Kostanay and Aktyubinsk region has been complete in 2004.

With commissioning in 2008 of Shar - Ust-Kamenogorsk 150 km long railway line, connection of a national railway network within the borders of Kazakhstan has come to the end.

Also new railway lines were required for development of export and transit potential of the country.

Due to the state support of NC KTZ JSC 1700 km of the new railway lines were paved which have provided the shortest ways of freight transport on TransKazakhstan routes in the West-East and North-South directions.

Commissioning in 2012 of Zhetygen-Altynkol (Khorgos) railway line has provided the second railway transition on the border with China. The new line for 550 km shortened the distance from the People's Republic of China to the southern regions of Kazakhstan and the countries of Central Asia.

Heads of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran have opened the movement on the international transport passage Uzen — Bereket — Gorgan in 2014, which Kazakhstan district was put into operation in 2012. This passage have greatly reduced the way from China and Asia-Pacific region countries to Iran and the Gulf region countries. As the President of Kazakhstan Nazarbayev N.A. said: “the new Silk way was actually created”.

The same year in the center of the country two new Zhezkazgan — Beyneu and Arkalyk – Shubarkol railway districts were put into operation.

Introduction of new lines has provided internal communications between regions, growth of the transit and export capacity of Kazakhstan and also gave a powerful impetus to development of regions.

There were new stations, necessary social infrastructure, new houses and social objects along new railway lines.

During rise of economy from 2000 to 2008 the Company has successfully managed the seven-percentage annual gain of transport volumes, despite the completion of life cycle of the production assets created till 1991.

Therefore in 2008 NC KTZ JSC started implementation of the Program for upgrading of assets.

More than 1,000 locomotives, 37.5 thousand freight cars, nearly 1,500 cars were updated, upgrading and overall repair of track of 4,700 km was carried out during this time.

Considering government policy of industrialization and import substitution, the Company has taken the path of modernization of assets at the expense of domestic production organization in partnership with world leaders of Alstom" "eneral Electric, Talgo, Siemens, etc.

Today the most modern freight and passenger wagons, locomotives, electric locomotives, rails and materials of track structure are produced in the country.

Production of the Kazakhstan plants has a high export capacity and since 2012 is delivered to the markets of the countries of the Eurasian continent.

Development of domestic production of modern Talgo passenger wagons has allowed NC KTZ JSC to realize the Program of the organization of high-speed passenger transport.

Today all major cities of Kazakhstan are connected by high-speed passenger routes network used by the trains made of modern, comfortable wagons of domestic production.

In 2010 the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan adopted the new program for development of transport infrastructure till 2014 under which the following events were realized:

  •  amendment to the international contracts and the national legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan concerning railway transport within the EEA;
  •  the unification of freight transport tariffs by type of journey;
  •  initiation of work to implement the new mechanism of subsidize losses of the carriers, conducting railway passenger transportation according to socially important interregional services;
  •  optimization of holding structure of the Company and disposition of non-core and core support assets in a competitive environment;
  •  intensive development of logistics and transit multimodal transportations through creation of one-stop-shop services on the basis of NC KTZ JSC by all types of transport and integration of transport assets.

As requested by the Head of state business of NC KTZ JSC is dynamically changing since 2011.

NC KTZ JSC from the railway company is changed to transport and logistics holding with the task of developing of Kazakhstan transit capacity and global infrastructure integration.

Today NC KTZ JSC conducting rail and maritime transportation services, services of the transport and logistics centers and also services of sea port, airport and road infrastructure.

The company implements infrastructure projects within the “Nurly Zhol” state program, participates in implementation of the Plan of the nation “100 concrete steps”, continues to modernize transport assets, increases the dry-cargo and ferry fleet, participates in institutional development of the international transport passages and elimination of not physical barriers at implementation of transportations.