[as of 2014 ]


Founded: 1959 (incorporated 1964)
Population: 46 401 (2012)
All-time maximum population: 58 200 (1989)
Location: Stepnogorsk

The city in the middle of the deserted prairies was built to house a workforce for the secret military industrial installations in the area – a uranium enrichment plant and a biological weapons’ factory. Naturally under the Soviet rule this was a secret city, known at different times under various code names such as Tselinograd-25 and Makinsk-2. Upon the USSR’s demise production output was drastically reduced, however, some factories were repurposed and continue to operate.

Network Stats

Operator: TOO "Stepnogorsk Temir Zholy"

Electrified tracks: 24,6 km. (one-way)
Number of passenger vehicles train consists: 5
Number of trains required for service: 3

Network map: 2014
Timetable: 2014

"Given the nature of local industry’s production, the industrial plants were built at the safe distance, far away from the residential area. Consequently, a high capacity reliable mode of transportation was needed to transport a large workforce of people. An electrified rail line was built between the city and the industrial park, to be used by the suburban-style electric trains. The 24,6 km. long electrified line became a part of a vast network of industrial access trackage totaling 135 km. in length, managed by the Stepanogorsk Railway (""Степногорск Темір Жолы""). Nowadays the passenger line serves a bearing plant, a chemical plant, a mining chemical combine (KazSabton) and a coal electric generation plant. The line also serves a development of summer houses along the corridor. The latter is mainly served with weekday daytime and weekend short trips to GPZ-16, some of them scheduled for the summer months only.

The line has two electrified passing points. The GPZ-16 passing point is equipped with a single side platform only, and is not used for bypassing in revenue service. The Promyshlennaya Station, however, is a scheduled bypassing point for revenue trains. The 3 Km. and 16 Km. Stations are equipped with small single-door wide platforms, with only two daily trains calling at these stops in either direction – one in the morning, and one in the evening. The operating cab’s service door is used for loading and unloading passengers at these stops. The single electrified access track to the depot is seldom used, with most depot runs done with the help of a diesel locomotive.

The Progress Station is meant to serve the semi-defunct biological weapons’ plant that is in the process of being dismantled, and thus is no longer used for passenger service. The formerly large Karyernaya Station and junction yard is dismantled. The line terminates at the semi-abandoned Zavodskoy town. A gigantic open pit located immediately to the west of the town is known as the largest low grade radioactive waste depository in the world.

The Depot is located in the industrial park at the outer end of the line. The 3 revenue and 1 active spare train sets are stored at the Stepnogorsk Station at the city end of the line. The 1 remaining inactive spare set is either stored at the Depot, or undergoes repairs."

Rolling Stock

A total of 34 cars:
ER-22 : 14 motor and 20 trailer (1964-1968), ex-Moscow (1990)

Formerly used vehicles:

"Ten 8-car electric train sets of the ER-22 type were delivered second hand from Moscow in 1990. Five shortened train sets remain on the property now. The ER-22 electric cars are unique due to 3 passenger galleries per car, as opposed to 2 galleries on other trains. These cars used to operate on rail lines with high passenger load turnover, e.g. mostly urban S-bahn style lines. Beginning from the year 2000 the Stepnogorsk interurban line is the only remaining system in the world to operate this unique equipment.

The ER-22 electric trains have motor cars with operating cabs and trailers without operating cabs. In 8-car train sets 4 motor cars and 4 trailers were originally coupled into ""М-P-P-М-М-P-P-М"" consist. As old cars were gradually taken out of commission, ""М-P-P-М-P-P-М"" 7-car consists were operated for some time. As of 2014 only 6-car train sets are used with 2 motor cars and 4 trailers in-between. Even though such arrangement is possible due to relatively low loads, the operating speed was reduced. There are currently 4 unused motor cars stored at the Depot. There are no known plans for equipment replacement."

Photo gallery


Last updated: 12-Sep-2014
© 2002 Author: Yury Maller - Usage of material found herein for public display is possible with authors' permission only.

Stepnogorsk Complete Photo Archive