Shorter route opens for passenger trains between China’s Xinjiang and Kazakhstan’s Almaty

ALMATY (TCA) — International passenger trains between Urumqi, the main city of China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty will have a shorter route in China starting from September 30, Xinhua news agency reported citing a local railway bureau.

The K9795/K9796 trains will cross the China-Kazakhstan border at Horgos instead of Alataw Pass, shortening the route by 301 km. The travel time for the whole trip will be cut by one third to 24 hours, according to the Urumqi railway bureau in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Located about 670 km from Urumqi and 370 km from Almaty, Horgos was once a busy passage used by traders traveling along the ancient Silk Road. The launch of the Belt and Road Initiative has injected new vitality into the ancient land port.

The railway bureau said the new route is safer than the old one as it is less likely to be affected by bad weather. The trains will also have more deluxe soft-sleeper cars. Passengers can buy last-minute tickets just an hour and a half before departure.

The Urumqi-Almaty passenger trains first started in the early 1990s. In June, a new line was added, linking Urumqi with the Kazakhstan capital Astana. The route also passes Horgos and stops in Almaty.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

View more articles fromTCA