The Republic of Kazakhstan has formally begun the construction of the China Gateway Railway, the country’s second rail link to China.

The broad-gauge line is estimated to cover 290km, connecting Zhetigen in Kazakhstan to Korgas on the Kazakhstan-China border.

The line will reduce the distance between the southern regions of Kazakhstan and China by nearly 550km.

The construction will be undertaken by Kazakhstan and is expected to be complete by 2012.

The line will have facilities to tranship freight to and from a 295km standard-gauge branch off the Urumqi line of the Chinese Railways.

Kazakhstan hopes the new line will help boost trade with China as well as with the states of South East Asia, Central Asian countries and the Eurasian continent.