French consultancy Systra has secured a contract from Kazakhstan’s national railway operator, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), to oversee the design and construction of a 1,011km high-speed rail line in the country.
Designed to operate at speeds of 250km/per hour, the proposed 1,520mm gauge single-track high-speed rail line will connect Almaty with Astana, the two most populated cities in Kazakhstan.
Systra has worked with KTZ for ten years and recently completed a feasibility study for the new high-speed rail network under a contract secured in 2011.
Commenting on the partnership with Systra, KTZ chairman Askar Uzakpaevitch Mamin said: "They have continually demonstrated their ability to provide reliable solutions to a variety of technical issues associated with the project and with regard to our important deadline."
Work under the project will also include construction of a 10km viaduct across Lake Balkhash and the development of a rail line that is able to cope with temperatures up to 75°C.
The bridge across Lake Balkhash will make the route’s alignment shorter than the current 1,300km distance between the Kazakhstan’s capital and main commercial city.
Systra has a deadline of four years to complete the design and construction phases of the project.
Commissioning of the proposed high-speed rail line is expected to take place in early 2017 to coincide with the opening of the World Expo in Astana.