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Dostyk (Kazakh: Достық, Dostyq) or Druzhba (Russian: Дружба) is a small town in Kazakhstan's Almaty Region, on the border with Xinjiang, China. It is a port of entry (by highway and railroad) from China. The rail portion serves as an important link in the Eurasian Land Bridge. It is situated in the Dzungarian Gate, a historically significant mountain pass.
The agreement between the Soviet Union and the PRC to connect Kazakhstan with Western China by rail was achieved in 1954. On the Soviet side, the railway reached the border town of Druzhba (Dostyk) (whose names, both Russian and Kazakh, mean 'friendship' in each respective language) in 1959. On the Chinese side, however, the westward construction of the Lanzhou-Xinjiang railway was stopped once it reached Urumqi in 1962. Due to the Sino-Soviet Split, the border town remained a sleepy backwater for some 30 years, until the railway link was finally completed on September 12, 1990.
The railway networks of the two countries use different gauges (China, like most of Europe, uses the standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in), but Kazakhstan uses the broader gauge of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) Russian gauge), so there are breaks of gauge. It is proposed to build a standard gauge Transcontinental Railway to link Europe and China to bypass these two breaks of gauge. This project was signed in 2004.
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