China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan Ink Fresh New Railroad Agreement


A long-awaited agreement between China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan to move forward with building a train connecting their nations has been inked. If successful, this line will create a shorter path to Europe by avoiding Russia, which is under sanctions, Eurasianet reports.

On September 14, outside the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference in Uzbekistan, the three states signed the accord.

The CKU link project, which was first proposed 25 years ago but had a hard time getting off the ground until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine gave it new life, is not outlined in the document.

However, by establishing guidelines for a feasibility study for the Kyrgyz leg, which is the final piece needed to connect the railroads already in place in China and Uzbekistan, to be finished by the first half of 2023, it does bring the project one step closer to realization.

The deal was reached with China’s National Development and Reform Commission, and the news was announced by the transport ministries of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

According to the Kyrgyz Ministry of Transport and Communications, the study’s expenditures will be split equally.

The ministry’s announcement appeared to corroborate prior rumors that, following years of negotiations, a route had finally been decided.

Kyrgyzstan had pushed for a route that would service more populated areas further north but appears to have decided on a path that is only accessible from the south, from which it will benefit—both the creation of jobs for the line’s construction and from transit fares.

The railroad will start at Torugart, where there is already a road crossing from China, proceed through the towns of Arpa and Makmal, and then continue north to Jalal-Abad, where it will connect with the rail system of Uzbekistan.

A Sino-Kyrgyz joint venture with 51% Chinese ownership runs a goldmine in Makmal.

According to a recent article in The Economist, this is where the gauge will change from the 1.435-meter track that was used in China and Europe to the 1.520-meter track that was used in the former Soviet Union.

According to the newspaper’s report, the 280-kilometer line will cost $4.1 billion and be paid for either directly by investors or through a public-private partnership.

Scroll to Top