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China-Kazakhstan passenger train sets out for virgin trip
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The first international passenger train left Astana, capital of Kazakhstan Tuesday afternoon for Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, providing a faster link between western China and central Asia.

The new rail service is expected to improve the passageway of the new Euroasia continental bridge, which starts from east China, and through central and western regions and other parts of Asia and continental Europe before it ends at Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The train, with a seating capacity of 576 passengers, is scheduled to leave Astana each Tuesday night and reach Urumqi on Thursday morning with a total mileage of 1,898 kilometers. It goes back on Thursday night and arrives in Astana in the wee hours on Sunday.

Passengers have to transfer via the border at Alataw Pass because of the two countries use different tracks.

A passenger train used to shuttle between Urumqi and Alma Ata, which is still a little far from Astana.

The new passenger train is expected to enhance trade and tourism cooperation between China and Kazakhstan.

(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2008)

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