KAZAKHSTAN’s prime minister, Mr Älihan Smaiylov, has outlined in a letter to the country’s senate plans for the delivery of locomotives, passenger coaches and wagons to boost the fleet of national operator Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) and its subsidiaries.

The planned deliveries include 187 diesel locomotives in 2023-2026, including locomotives manufactured by Wabtec and others supplied by unspecified Russian manufacturers. Assembly of the Wabtec units will be undertaken at the Lokomotiv Kurastyru Zauyty (LKZ) facility in Kazakhstan. Smaiylov says that 70 of these locomotives are expected to arrive in the first half of 2023.

In September 2022 KTZ signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Wabtec, with a value of around $US 600m, for the supply of 150 FLXdrive battery-electric shunting locomotives and modernisation work to convert the existing mainline diesel fleet to liquified natural gas (LNG).

The second planned fleet order outlined in Smaiylov’s letter is for 245 electric locomotives to be supplied by Alston in 2023-2029. These locomotives are to be procured under a long-term contract signed by Alstom and KTZ under which the manufacturer was expected to supply a total of 250 KZ8A freight locomotives and 119 KZ4AT mainline passenger locomotives.

In November 2022, KTZ obtained financing to continue the purchasing process related to this contract, with Alstom pledging that local content of the order would be up to 39%. At the same time KTZ also signed a cooperation agreement with Alstom that will see the organisations working together on projects including the development of the next generation of KTZ’s electric locomotive fleet, the KZ8A (NG).

New diesel locomotives and containers flatcars are also among the fleet orders listed. Photo credit: David Gubler

The third planned fleet order outlined by Smaiylov is for 537 passenger coaches to be manufactured by Stadler by 2029. In mid-December, 2022, KTZ signed three long-term contracts with Stadler, with a total value of €2.3bn, for the supply of that specific number of sleeping and couchette cars, including a 20-year full service maintenance contract.

One of the contracts with Stadler also includes acquisition of a manufacturing plant at Tulpar in Astana and president of the Stadler board of directors, Mr Peter Spuhler, says that the localisation level in the construction of these vehicles is planned to be 35%.

The fourth planned fleet order is for 307 passenger coaches to be built by Russian manufacturers in 2023-24. As with the Russian involvement in the planned KTZ diesel locomotives fleet orders, no specific manufacturers are identified.

The fifth and final planned fleet order outlined relates to wagons and is for 1500 gondola wagons and 601 container flat wagons, expected to arrive during the course of 2023. The gondola wagons are to be produced by one KTZ subsidiary, the Kazakhstan Car-Building Company, for another subsidiary, Kaztemirtrans, which owns the largest wagon fleet in Kazakhstan.

The 601 container wagons are to be delivered by Ziksto and are intended for another KTZ subsidiary, intermodal operator KTZ Express.

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