China to form company with neighbours to build railway to Uzbekistan

A diesel locomotive on an overpass in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (Vmenkov/CC BY-SA 3.0)
China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan will form a company to build a 523km rail link between western China and Uzbekistan, the Railway Supply website reports.

The decision was made during a meeting in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek between Kyrgyz president Sadyr Zhaparov and Wang Tongjun, vice general manager of China State Railways.

The company will be staffed by people seconded from the three countries’ rail operators.

It will design, build and operate the line as a concessionaire, then transfer it to national ownership after a set period. 

The meeting follows delays to the expected start of the scheme.

In June 2022, President Zhaparov, said work would begin in 2023, after the feasibility study was completed (see further reading). He added: “There will be jobs. Our economy will boom.”

Wang suggested the study still has not been completed.

The WorldEcho news website quotes him as affirming China State Railways’ commitment to “expediting” it.

According to the Central Asian Light website, President Zhaparov said the railway would open new routes to European and Gulf countries.

The line will run from Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region to Andijan in Uzbekistan.

It would shorten the rail route between China and Europe by 900km and cut up to eight days off the time required to transport goods between the ends of the Eurasian landmass.

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