Home Open Account Help 236 users online

International Railroad Discussion > Kazakhstan Railways


Pages:  [ 1 ][ 2 ] [ Next ]
Current Page:1 of 2


Date: 07/05/08 07:33
Kazakhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

I had occasion to take a three-week holiday in Kazakhstan in April and May. In total I traveled several thousand kilometers by taxi*, jitney, bus and--you guessed it--train. About 2,500 kilometers of the travel was by railway.

Here are some impressions of Kazakhstan Railways (Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, KTZ).

* "Taxi" in Kazakhstan means _any_ car that happens to have an empty seat. Anyone will pick you up for a small price.

1. Travel map. Segments by railway were: Almaty to Ushtobe, Beskol (easternmost point on map, just above and to the right of the word "Ushtobe") to Karaganda via Aktogay, and Astana to Almaty via the western side of Lake Balkhash. The balance of the travel was by taxi, jitney and bus.

2. Trains meet at Aktogay, just east of the easternmost point of Lake Balkhash. This is where the south-north (Almaty-Semipalatinsk) and east-west (Balkhash-Urumqi, China) railway lines cross.

3. Leaning out the window at sunset while approaching Aktogay on the "milk train" (one locomotive, three cars, wooden seats only).









Date: 07/05/08 07:42
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

1. Interior of the train from Beskol to Aktogay. They don't get tourists on this train too often, as evidenced by the curious looks from our fellow travelers. We must have looked like space aliens to them. My friend Tony, a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Kazkahstan whom I was visiting, is pictured.

2. Switchman in Aktogay.

3. Engine change in Moyynty, on the way from Balkhash to Karaganda. Here we meet the electrified Almaty-Astana mainline and pick up our electric motor.








Date: 07/05/08 07:47
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

1. "Almaty 2" station in Almaty. For all intents and purposes, the central railway station, as the new, massive Almaty 1 is well outside the city center.

2. Almaty 2, as viewed from the pedestrian overpass over the tracks.

3. Interior of Almaty 2. Difficult to see in the photo, but the capitals of the columns have little hammers and sickles.








Date: 07/05/08 07:52
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

1. Another view at Almaty 2.

2. Obviously an inherited piece of equipment, in case there was any doubt.

3. On the train from Almaty to Ushtobe.









Date: 07/05/08 07:55
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

1. A view of Almaty 1. The guys squatting in the background are selling pineapples on the platform.

2. One of the several stops on the way to Ushtobe. At most stations old Babushkas set up their little food stands for sale and the train stops for 15 minutes or so.

3. Another shot from the food stop.









Date: 07/05/08 07:59
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

1. Another shot in Aktogay. Taking photos of military equipment is strictly prohibited.

2. Children running to one of the open traps at one of the many small, half-empty towns along the northern edge of Lake Balkhash.

3. A view of an approaching train at one of the few examples of topography interrupting the flatness of the steppe.









Date: 07/05/08 08:07
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

1. Most crews were extremely friendly and eager to have their photos taken.

2. KazPost employee at the open door of the Kazakh version of an RPO.

3. Marshalling yard in Balkhash, one of the most polluted cities in the world.








Date: 07/05/08 08:10
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

1. The new main station in Astana, the new capital (since 10 years ago).

2. The signal system for the eastern division of the railway is controlled by these relay systems, located in an administrative building in Aktogay.

3. Freight passes through Almaty 2.








Date: 07/05/08 08:24
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

1. Interior of the Platscart (European terminology: "open couchette") on the train from Aktogay to Karaganda.

2. EMU set about one hour outside Karaganda.

3. Talgo night train to Almaty in the Astana station. Talgo takes 12 hours for the trip (about 1,500 km). Standard train costs about 30% less and takes 26 hours. Sorry for the dark photo.








Date: 07/05/08 08:35
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

1. Work car at the station in Beskol.

2. EMUs in Karaganda.

3. Another sunset shot.

That's all for now. Hope you enjoyed! For those interested in seeing more (primarily the non-rail photos of the trip) visit the URL below and click on "Best of Kazakhstan" for my personal favorites.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesintransit/collections/72157605293747743/








Date: 07/05/08 09:21
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: africansteam

Nicely done! The tracked vehicle seen on the train behind the TEM2 is one of the many variants of the Soviet BMP Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

Great post!

Thanks,
Jack



Date: 07/05/08 10:48
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: DRGW5502

NIIICE! HAI FIVE!



Date: 07/05/08 11:27
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: 1200v

Great stuff, thank you for posting.



Date: 07/05/08 18:33
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: kudzu44

Excellent, enlightening photos and an informative commentary! An outstanding post. Thanks!



Date: 07/05/08 19:07
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: TedS-P

Very good post, interesting to say the least. One thing that caught my eye was how clean everything was; no litter around the stations, in the tracks etc. Thanks for sharing.

Ted S-P



Date: 07/07/08 01:31
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: 86235

Very nice, really interesting series of pictures.



Date: 07/07/08 06:38
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: xtra1188w

This was a great look at a part of our world that I know nothing about. I'll never even ever get to Europe, much less to middle Asia, thanks for posting such a detailed look of Kazakhstan (sic?)

Con



Date: 07/07/08 21:20
Re: Kazkhstan Railways
Author: PERichardson

Great photos and informative post....and they seem to allow one to photograph the railway, just like the UP....NOT



Date: 07/09/08 00:43
Re: Kazakhstan Railways
Author: PennEngineer

Thanks for the kind comments, everyone. It was a trip of a lifetime and it was my pleasure to be able to relive some of it while I was preparing this post.

Yes, in the photos it does appear rather clean, but I must say, one of the most aggravating aspects of the country is the litter problem. While it's not too bad along the railway lines, along public roads and just about anywhere there are people on the ground you will find discouragingly large and constant amounts of litter--especially plastic water and soda bottles as well as glass beer an cognac bottles. It seems almost everyone there deplores and laments the problem yet they seem powerless to do anything about it. When we were hiking in the canyons near the Chinese/Kyrgyz border we could tell when we were far from civilization based on whether there were any plastic bottles laying about.

The people were extremely friendly, especially when they found out we were American. The country is 60% Russian and 40% Kazakh, but the areas we were traveling in were probably closer to 50/50, and regardless, since the breakup of the USSR the Kazakhs are running the show now. I had the impression that to them, the Soviets were occupiers and thus the old saying ran true: "my enemy's enemy is my friend"*. Hence the very pro-US sentiment.

Part of the friendliness was reflected in the very laid-back nature of many people. When I would ask whether I could take photos (particularly of railway equipment), the general response was, "Of course--this isn't the Soviet Union anymore!" The one exception was military equipment. The general populace is very mindful of the laws prohibiting photography of anything military-related, and when something of that nature was about, they (even civilians) would plead with me to put my camera down.

As you can see, the countryside, while barren, is beautiful. As were the people. I look back on the trip very fondly. I can hardly wait for my next opportunity to return to the region.



Date: 07/09/08 11:41
Re: Kazakhstan Railways
Author: ChS7-321

PennEngineer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> The people were extremely friendly, especially
> when they found out we were American. The country
> is 60% Russian and 40% Kazakh, but the areas we
> were traveling in were probably closer to 50/50,
> and regardless, since the breakup of the USSR the
> Kazakhs are running the show now. I had the
> impression that to them, the Soviets were
> occupiers and thus the old saying ran true: "my
> enemy's enemy is my friend"*. Hence the very
> pro-US sentiment.
>

Depends on who you define as being "the Soviets", and what do you define "occupation" as - the whole former USSR is funny like that.

The phrase "occupation of Kazakhstan by the Soviet Union" makes as much sense as do the phrases "occupation of California by the United States" or "occupation of Scotland by the UK".

If your "occupiers" are the Russians, then it would be wise to remember that the two most infamous and cruelest men of the 70-year Soviet history - Joseph Stalin and his security chief, Laurentiy Beria - were not even Russian, but rather Georgian (a fact sometimes forgotten by Georgian politicians).

Also, large swathes of Kazakhstan (as well as of other ex-Soviet Central Asian countries, as well as my native Ukraine) have been in the same country with the Russian Federation for the last several centuries.

All in all, between 1917 and 1991, everybody got the same benefits, and everybody suffered the same ills.

P.S. On the other hand, if by "Soviets", one presumes "Communists", then it's a different story.....



Pages:  [ 1 ][ 2 ] [ Next ]
Current Page:1 of 2


[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.0735 seconds