Kazakhstan is a land of geographical and climatic extremes. Covering an area of 2.7 million square kilometres, it is the largest landlocked nation in the world. Its northern border to Russia is some 6,800 kilometres long. Borders to the east, west and south are even longer. Measuring some 7,000 kilometres, they lead along the Caspian Sea and the edges of China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The landscapes in Kazakhstan are impressive, with huge mountains as well as sandy and rocky deserts and vast steppes. The climate is strikingly continental, with temperatures ranging from 40°C below zero in the winter up to 40°C plus in the summer.
For the capital, Astana, and the 17.8 million people in total who live in the region, the railway is the most important means of travel and transport. One of the key lines in the area is 1,100 kilometres long and links the metropolis with the town of Almaty, which is located on the silk road, one of the most famous trading centres in Kazakhstan. In these parts, then, a train has to withstand not only the searing heat but also the icy cold. Moreover, with sand and dust being just as damaging as high UV and ozone levels, any materials used here have to withstand completely new dimensions of robustness. The best example is ContiTech’s air spring systems, specially developed for railway vehicles.
New air springs for the extreme cold
Air springs by ContiTech enhance comfort and safety, especially in metro trains, trams and regional public transport. As part of the secondtier suspension, they are situated between the chassis and the bogie. Here they absorb impacts, allowing bumps and vibrations caused by the tracks to go virtually unnoticed by passengers. Variable pressure inside them allows train wagons to maintain consistent levels, irrespective of the load on board – in the most hostile of conditions and for years on end.