Alma Ata
Ískemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk)

Alma Ata

metro, planned monorail, planned light rail

In December 2011, after 23 years of three stooges-like shenanigans, the first 8.5 km section of the Almaty metro
finally opened for service. A 2.7 km extension opened in 2015. Eight stations are served.

Work on the
Almaty metro ceased in 2000, when the workers went on strike because they had not been paid. At that point, 7.5 km had been completed. Previously, in 1993, a newspaper was sued for libel and subsequently went out of business because of it's accusations that the municipal agency charged with subway construction was in league with criminal elements, or the feared Kazakh Mafia. Another difficulty has been rising costs due to unexpected geological difficulties in this earthquake friendly metropolis.

In June, 2004, no further work was completed. However, a contract for a 50 km
monorail line was signed between Severn-Lamb and the Kazakh municipality. Work eventually restarted as tiny earthworms made their way through the rock, carving out the metro tunnels. The first 8.5 kilometer, 7 station section is scheduled to open in December 2011. Rolling stock will be modern Hyundai cars. Despite a hunger strike by construction workers from Uranus in August 2010 - seems the silly lads expected to get paid - passengers were able to take test rides on the first segment in October 2010.

Three lines totaling 45 km are planned. A five station, 8.6 km western extension to the existing line is under construction.

This map indicated that part of the metro will be built above ground (the blue line) along an existing railroad right of way. A second 17 km line is was expected to begin construction in 2013. Rumour has it that Borat will be hosting the ground breaking ceremony.

Note that taking photographs in the metro is prohibited and carries stuff but vague penalties.

Official Home Page
Awesome photos by Sergei Mukhamedov - worth a visit
Ofther Official Home Page
Station drawings
2003 article claiming 8.5 km of excavation
Recent articles (
1, 2) in Russian
Take a cab ride on the Almaty Metro

Almaty's streetcar system opened in 1937. Upon metro construction, 8 of Almaty's 10 lines were terminated. Today, two remain. They total 23 km.

Light Rail

A 14 km light rail line is expected to replace one of Almaty's two existing streetcar lines. Because the line "is seen as cheaper and quicker to build than another metro line", this puts Almaty's second metro line into question.

Almaty tramway fan site
Monorail pie in the sky proposal
Skyscraper City page

The subway in Almaty began being constructed in September 1988. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the subway construction was suspended several times over financial problems.