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Mongolia Railway Assessment


For information on Mongolia Railway contact details, please see the following link: 

4.9 Mongolia Railway Company Contact List

The Mongolian rail network comprises 1,815 km of broad gauge track, of which 1,110 km are on the main line linking Russia to China, 238 km are on a separate network in Eastern Mongolia that has its own link to the Russian railway, and the remaining 477 km are branches from the main line (going to Erdenet and Baganuur). Erdenet is 164km south west of Darkhan (off the main Sukhbaatar - Zamyn-Uud Lint).  Baganuur is 94km east (off the main Sukhbaatar - Zamyn-Uu d Line).  It branches off between UB and Choir. The Trans-Mongolian railway is a single track, has  a limited capacity and is vulnerable to damage from natural disasters such as earthquake. The gauge is the same as that in Russia but there is a different gauge in China. Therefore, each carriage (freight and passengers) needs to have its bogies changed at the Chinese border which can take several hours.

Maximum train weights have now reached 6,000 gross tons. Transit rail freight has increased from about 15 percent of total rail freight ton km in 1990 to about 25 percent by 2005, and it now provides an even larger share of railway freight revenue. With the additional new prospect of transporting significant mining output to China, the existing single track railway linking Russia to China through Ulaanbaatar has not sufficient capacity to transport all the available freight. The maximum capacity of the railway per year is 25 million tonnes. Currently approximately 18 million tonnes are moved per year. In 2007, rail transport carried 93% of Mongolian freight and 43% of passenger turnover (in tons/km and passenger/km, respectively). During heavy rain bridges can be damaged. Snow and blowing snow can cause delays. 

TRANSIT TIMES: Tianjin to UB: 8 - 10 days and Vladivostok to UB: 8 - 10 days

Travel Time Matrix

Travel Time from Capital City to Major Towns (Hours / Days)

 

Ulaanbaatar

Zamyn Uud 

Sukhbaatar 

Darkhan

Choir

Saishand

Ulaanbaatar

 

18

10

6

6

12

 Zamyn Uud

18

 

28

24

12

6

Sukhbaatar

10

28

 

4

16

22

Darkhan

6

24

4

 

12

18

Choir

6

12

16

12

 

6

Saishand

12

6

22

18

6

 

Railway Companies and Consortia

All of the railway lines that are currently in Mongolia are maintained and owned by Ulaanbaatar Railway.  This is a joint venture between the governments of Russia and Mongolia who each hold a 50% share. Russia and Mongolia signed an agreement for the development of an additional 6,000 kilometres. Russia’s railway monopoly OAO Russian Railways is prepared to invest US$1.5 billion towards this train network to help boost trade between the two countries. The extensions to the line are to be build by a recently formed organisation Mongolian Railway. This is 100% owned by the Mongolian Government. The two countries also signed an agreement to extend the Ulaanbaatar Railway network, which is a Russian/Mongolian joint venture, by a further US$250 million in capital to extend capacity to the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposits in the South Gobi.

Phase 1 of the extension of the railway network is:

  1. Dalanzadgad – Tavan Tolgoi – Tsagaan Suvarga – Sainshand (555 km);
  2. Sainshand – Baruun-Urt (350 km);
  3. Baruun-Urt – Khuut (140 km);
  4. Khuut – Choibalsan (150 km).

Capacity Table

Rail Operator Capacity
 

Ulaanbaatar Railway

Operates on (lines)

All existing lines in Mongolia (except 80 km from main line to Dulaahaan)

Max train length and/or pulling capacity

80 wagons, 6000 gross

Locomotives (electric/diesel/steam)

diesel

Freight Wagons (covered) / size

500 (60mt)

Freight Wagons (flat bed) / size

300 (60mt)

Freight Wagons (high-sided)/size

3500 (60mt)

Freight Wagons (drop-side)/size

n/a

Key Route Information

The Trans-Mongolian railway runs from Sukhbaatar on the border with Russia, through Ulaanbaatar to Zamyn-Uud on the border with China. It consists of 1,110 km of single track line. It is has a gauge of 1520mm (4 ft 11 5⁄6 in) as does Russia. China's rail system has a standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2in) so the bogies must be changed when trains move between these two countries. This can take several hours. Each day there are between 11 and 18 trains running on this line. There can be issues during winter with snow on the tracks causing closures for up to a couple of days at a time. There can also be issues with blowing sand on the southern section of the line in the Gobi Desert. This section of railway line has 4 large bridges that are 100-150 metres long. If they were to be damaged, Ulaanbaatar Railway does not have the capacity to repair them and so the line would be closed for an extended period of time. There are customs clearance facilities in Sukhbaatar, Ulaanbaatar (City Customs), Darkhan, Erdenet and Zamyn-Uud. Approximate transit time from Tianjin - Ulaanbaatar is approximately 10 days by train.

The Trans- Mongolian Railway runs from Beijing through Ulaanbaatar and onto a junction called Zaudinsky, near Ulan Ude in Russia. Here it meets the Trans-Siberian line which continues onto Moscow to the west and Vladivostok to the east. China - The transit time from Tianjin (port near Beijing) to Ulaanbaatar is approximately 8-10 days by train. Generally freight is trucked to the Mongolian border and then loaded on trains at Zamyn-Uud to be freighted through to Ulaanbaatar. The cargo handling capacity at the Mongolia/China border is limited and there can often be delays in loading containers onto the train. The averaged cost to ship a 20ft container from Tianjin to Ulaanbaatar is $3000 USD and $4500 USD for a 40ft container. China does not have wagons to carry bulk cargo such as wheat.  Russia - Freight can be brought from Vladivostok to Ulaanbaatar (approximately 8 days) and the average cost for a 20ft container is $4000 USD and $6000 USD for a 40ft container. This will depend on railway wagon availability and rental charges. Freight via train is considerably cheaper than via trucks, though often takes longer

Standard Route Information
 

Sukhbaatar to Zamyn-Uud

Bejing to Ulan Ude

Track gauge

1,520 mm (4 ft 11 5⁄6 in) (Russian gauge)

Mongolia and Russia - 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 5⁄6 in) (Russian gauge) China - 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard guage

Ruling gradient

9%

9%

Total track distance (single and/or double)

1100

2,215 km (1,376 mi) single

Type of rail (weight and if welded or not)

P-65

P-65

Type of sleeper and fastenings

30% concrete 70% wood

n/a

Total track travel time

3 days for freight

n/a

Maintenance (Good, marginal, bad)

good

good

Companies-consortiums operating on line

Ulaanbaatar Railway

Ulaanbaatar Railway

Traffic frequency (monthly/weekly/daily)

11-18 trains per day

daily

Security (Good, marginal, bad)

good

good

Main stations (Add details below)

yes with Russia and China

2

Key Stations

Key Station Information
 SukhbaatarDarkhanUlaanbaatarChoirSaishandZamyn Uud
Location26km from the Russian border (Altanbulag is located at the border and is the road crossing point)98km south of Sukhbaatar281km south of Darkhan  247km south of Ulaanbaatar227km south of Choir239km south of Saishand

Connections with other

transport means

(road/waterways/air)

RoadRoadRoad, AirRoadRoadn/a

Storage Capacity

(square meters and cubic meters)

875m2 of covered area (concrete floor) and 1978m2 covered area (dirt floor)  3430m2 warehouse, 4800m2 covered area (dirt floor) and 700m2 covered area bonded warehouse7,520m2 warehouse and 25,360m2 covered areaNon/a300m2 warehouse, 23,652m2 open area.
Handling Equipment  2 x 20T cranes2 cranes and 1 forklift7 cranes, 6 forklifts, 1 truck crane and 2 container trucksn/an/a4 cranes, 3 truck crane and three forklifts

Handling Capacity:

MT / Hour

TEU / Hour

2 x cranesDarkhan capacity - loading and unloading 30 wagons per day n/an/aZU has 24 hour handling, can do 100-150 wagons a day loading/unloading.
Other CommentsCustoms Clearance FacilitiesCustoms Clearance FacilitiesCustoms Clearance Facilitiesn/an/aCustoms Clearance Facilities

For information on Mongolia Railway contact details, please see the following link: 

4.9 Mongolia Railway Company Contact List