Kazakhstan's Silk Rail Symphony

Bakhty–Ayagoz railway line
Bakhty–Ayagoz railway lineImage Source: Azertag


Kazakhstan embarks on the construction of its third rail link to China, the Bakhty–Ayagoz railway line, aiming to elevate freight capacity by 20 million metric tons annually. The 272km double-track railway, slated for completion in 2027, underscores Kazakhstan's commitment to bolstering connectivity and trade. Part of a broader initiative to lay 1,300km of new lines, the project embraces local procurement, with 85% local content, and envisions the involvement of a private investor through public–private partnership principles.


In the vast expanse of Central Asia, where the echoes of history intermingle with the pulse of progress, Kazakhstan lays the groundwork for a transformative endeavor – the Bakhty–Ayagoz railway line, the nation's third rail link to China. The inauguration of this 272km railway, connecting the eastern city of Ayagoz to Bakhty on the Chinese border, marks a pivotal moment in Kazakhstan's quest for enhanced connectivity and amplified trade.

The ambitious project, scheduled for completion in 2027, aims to elevate freight capacity between Kazakhstan and China from 28 to a staggering 48 million metric tons annually. As the double-track railway weaves through the Kazakh landscape, it symbolizes not just a physical connection but a strategic bond fostering economic growth and regional collaboration.

The scope of this railway initiative extends beyond mere tracks. The comprehensive plan envisions the construction of 11 stations, 47 bridges, eight road overpasses, and five pedestrian bridges, weaving a tapestry of infrastructure that enhances accessibility and efficiency. What sets this project apart is the commitment to local procurement – 500,000 sleepers and 36 metric tons of rails will be sourced domestically, achieving at least 85% local content.

Alikhan Smailov, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, announced the commencement of the project, emphasizing its nature as a public–private partnership. This novel approach involves private investors, aligning with Kazakhstan's commitment to diversified investment models and sustainable growth.

The significance of Kazakhstan's investment in rail infrastructure reverberates beyond national borders. The country's strategic location has made it a linchpin in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with three BRI routes traversing through Kazakhstan, connecting Europe, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, West Asia, and India. The Bakhty–Ayagoz railway line becomes not just a conduit for trade but a vital thread in the intricate tapestry of global connectivity.

As Alikhan Smailov notes, existing transit corridors are expanding, and new ones are emerging. The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, the North-South, and the Southern Corridors are becoming pivotal, showcasing Kazakhstan's evolving role in the global economic landscape.


In the heart of Central Asia, the Bakhty–Ayagoz railway line emerges as a testament to Kazakhstan's ambition to forge robust connections and catalyze economic growth. Beyond the mere laying of tracks, this project represents a strategic alliance between nations, a commitment to sustainable development, and a symbol of Kazakhstan's integral role in global trade networks. As the trains traverse the expanse between Ayagoz and Bakhty, they carry not just freight but the aspirations of a nation striving for a future where connectivity transcends borders, fostering prosperity and collaboration.

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