Almaty – the youngest metro system in the CIS countries

The metro system of Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan, put in operation in December, 2011, was the first in the country and the second in Central Asia after the one in Tashkent and the 16th in the former USSR.

Метро Алматы

Background information:
Population of the city: 1.7 million
Daily ridership: 40,000
Total system length: 11.3 km
Number of stations: 9
Number of lines: 1
Began operation: 1 December 2011

Almaty Public Transportation

Almaty is the largest city of Kazakhstan and its «Southern capital», the crossing point for the rail roads from the Siberian cities to the cities of Central Asia. The transportation of the city includes bus, trolleybus systems and one metro line. The tramway system is not very well developed, there are only 2 routes. Two big projects are under way to facilitate the transportation – the Eastern ring road and The Big Almaty Ring Motorway. In the future, the Light Rail Transit line will be constructed as well as the Bus Rapid Transit.

Metro operating hours:  from 06:30 to 23:30


The project of the Almaty metro system was developed by Moscow design institute Metrogiprotrans with the participation of Leningrad’s Lenmetrogiprotrans. At the start it comprised 8 stations, but later it was decided to exclude the station Ploschad Respubliki at the crossing of the prospect Abay and Zheltoksan, large and important streets of the city. The construction started on September 7, 1988. Oktabrs’kaya became the first metro station to be built in Almaty.

Проект станции Октябрьская в Алмате

The design of the first Almaty metro station Oktyabr’skaya (after the USSR break renamed Raiymbek Batyr). Source: АО Almatymetrokurylys

The construction work had been performed for 3 years with a success when in 1991 the USSR collapsed and the work was stopped. In 90s despite the lack of funding, the metro construction workers still participated in some activities: they formed the material and technical basis for the metro construction, developed the scientific approach. The tunneling continued as well as the construction of the ventilation shafts and other structures for the maintenance of the deep-level stations.

The following organisations took part in the construction:

1989 – SUS Bamtonnelstroy  –  this organization was tasked with the construction of the metro system  by the decree of the  Ministry for the Transport Construction of the USSR.

1992 – PSO Almatymetrostroy  – newly formed design and construction bureau, which included the company Metroproekt, the former division for metro of the institute Almaatagiprotrans.

1994 – ОАО Almatymetrokurylys  – the organization changed its name after the privatization effort.

Geological conditions

The construction of the Almaty metro was implemented in the area of the seismic activity with the difficult geological conditions. The route passes through the slightly wet friable pebbly soils and boulders. Physical and mechanical properties of these soils present problems for the proper excavation and the walling.

Строительство станции Жибек Жолы - 2011 год

The construction of the metro station Zhibek Zholy, 2011 Source:

The positive moment is in the absence of ground waters. The safety of the Almaty metro system is secured with the earthquake-resilient tunnel structures.

The tunnel diameter is 5.1 m.  The new stations and tunnels will be constructed with the 14 m diameter TBM.

Actual metro system

The first section of the metro was put in operation on December 1, 2011. Its total length is 8.6 kmIt comprises 7 stations:

  • Raiymbek batyr
  • Zhibek Zholy
  • Almaly
  • Abay
  • Baikonur
  • Auezov Theater
  • Alatau

Click here for the large metro scheme
Схема метро Алматы

The first phase of the first line was completed on April 18, 2015

It has 2 stations:

  • Sayran
  • Moskva
Станция метро Москва в Алмате

The metro station Moskva. Source:

The second phase of the construction enlarged the length adding 2.74 km. The average distance between the stations is 1.3 km.

The rolling stock

The rolling stock consists of the trains manufactured by Korean Hyundai. The driverless mode is optional. The cars are equipped with the modern ventilation systems, the stations are announced at the electronic boards.  The passengers may walk through all the train – the cars are linked.

подвижной состав Алматинского метро

The rolling stock in Almaty made by Hyundai. Source:

Since its opening 4 trains has been operated at the line. The schedule depends on the day and time. On weekends the interval might be 13 minutes, in the rush hours on busy day it shortens to 8 minutes.

The average speed of the train is 40 km per hour
The fee is 80 Kazakhstan tenge (0.0025 EURO)


Of all 9 stations 4 are the shallow stations and 5 are the deep ones.

Raiymbek batyr

The single-vault shallow station. The length of the platform is 104 m, the width is 10 m. The interior design is based on the traditional patterns of the national art, including cave paintings, and modern solutions.

Панно на станции метро Жибек Жолы

Decorative panal  Zhibek Zholy. Source:

Zhibek Zholy

The deep pylon station. The maximum depth is 30 m. The length of the platform is 104 m, the width is 19.8 m. The escalator tunnel is 28.5 m high. The interior design is based on local traditional art. The decorative panel depicts the symbols of the countries the Great Silk Road trespassed.

Панно с древним городов на станции Алмалы

Decorative panel at the station Almaly. Source:


The deep pylon station. The maximum depth is 30 m. The length of the platform is 104 m, the width is 19.8 m. The escalator tunnel is 29 m high. The walls are decorated with the marble mosaic traditional pattern. At the end of the platform there is a decorative panel depicting the ancient city Almaly.


The deepest station of the metro of the column type. The depth is 78 m. The length of the platform is 104 m, the width is 15.2 m. The escalators height is 46 m. The design of the station is implemented in the modern style.

Байконур - алматинское метро

Baikonyr station. Source:


The column type deep station (20 m). The length of the platform is 104 m, the width is 15. 2 m. The escalators height is 20 m. The design of the interior implemented in the style high-tech and resembles a spaceport Baikonur.

Auezov Theater

This is the column deep station (30 м). The length of the platform is 104 m, the width is 15. 2 m. The escalators height is 27m. The interior design is based on the combination of the travertine plates decorated with the medallions. At the end of the platform there is a mosaic panel depicting scenes from the theatre performance.

Панно на станции Алатау

Decorative panel at the Alatau stations. Source:


Single-vault shallow station (11.6 m) with two side platforms 104m long, 5. 4 m wide. The design based on the ancient symbols of the people who lived on the territory of Kazakhstan. There are two decorative panels depicting mountains Trans-Ili Alatau.


Three-vaults column shallow station (16 m). The length of the island platform is 110. 3 м, the width is 15.2 m. The entrances to the station have two halls above the surface. Each has two escalators and the stairs to the platforms, the heights are from 6.8 to 8.3 m.


Three-vaults column shallow station (20 m). The length of the island platform is 110. 3 м, the width is 15.2 m.

Сбойка тоннеля между станциями Москва и Сайран

Tunnel breakthrough between the stations Moskva and Sayran. Source:

Future development

In 2015, the construction of two new stations started: Sary-Arka and Dostyk.  The start of operation planned for 2019. The preliminary construction work is being implemented. The first line will get longer in the future both in the Western direction and in the Northern direction towards the railway station Almaty2. The construction of the second line is also planned towards the South-Western part of the city with the stations Sayran and Zhibek Zholy being interchanged.

The second line supposes the construction of 10 more stations: Duman, Central Park, Dostyk, Zheltoksan, Baitursynuly, Auezova (named after the street), Alatau-2, Zhandosova (named after the street), Kablukova (named after the prospect), Orbita. The design planning will start after 2020. The further going plans has the third line, connecting the Northern and the Southern districts of the city, but its planning will start no sooner than 2030.


  • For the construction of the inclined tunnel SKTB Bamtonnelstroy manufactures the special shield based on the Japanese excavating machinery Kato.
  • NATM technology was applied during the construction of the right station tunnel of the station Abay, the inclined tunnel of the station Baikonur, the right station tunnel of the station Tulpar and the middle station tunnel of Almaly.
  • The TBM TNU-4 was used for the construction so the inclined tunnel of the station Abay
  • The TBM KPSCH-12 was used for the right tunnel section of the station Alatau and for the construction of the cross hall of the station Baikonur.
  • Complex for microtunnelling AVN -600 Herrenknecht AG  was used during the construction of Almaty station

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