Rail transport in Mongolia

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Traders in Zamyn-Üüd station, Dornogovi aimag

Rail transport in Mongolia is an important means of travel in the landlocked nation with few paved roads. According to official statistics, rail transport carried 93% of Mongolian freight and 43% of passenger turnover in 2007.[1] The Mongolian rail system employs 12,500 people.[2] The national operator is UBTZ (Ulaanbataar Railway, Mongolian: Улаанбаатар төмөр зам), traditionally also known as Mongolian Railway (MTZ, Mongolian: Монголын төмөр зам). This can be a source of confusion, since MTZ is a distinct company established in 2008.[3] The Mongolian Railway College is located in Ulaanbataar.[4]


The Trans-Mongolian Railway connects the Trans-Siberian Railway from Ulan Ude in Russia to Erenhot and Beijing in China through the capital Ulan Bator. The Mongolian section of this line runs for 1,110 kilometres (690 mi).[2] The Trans-Mongolian Railway runs through Mongolia on 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 2732 in) Russian gauge track, changing to standard gauge track after entering China. There are several spur lines: to the copper combine in Erdenet, to coal mines in Sharyngol, Nalaikh and Baganuur, to the flourspar mine in Bor-Öndör and to the former Soviet military base in Züünbayan.

A separate railway line exists in the east of the country between Choibalsan and the Trans-Siberian at Borzya; however, that line is closed to passengers beyond the Mongolian town of Chuluunkhoroot.[5] This line used to have a spur line to the uranium mine at Mardai, however this spur line was torn up and sold in the late 1990s/ early 2000s.

For domestic transport, daily trains run from Ulaanbaatar to Darkhan, Sukhbaatar, and Erdenet, as well as Zamyn-Üüd, Choir and Sainshand. Mongolia uses the 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 2732 in) (Russian gauge) with a total system length of 1,810 kilometres (1,120 mi).[6]


Rolling stock[edit]

As Mongolia's railroads are not electrified, UBTZ relies entirely on Diesel traction. Most common locomotives are M62 variants, including five rebuilt 2Zagal (Mongolian: two white horses) double engines.[9] Other engines include TEM2 and TE116 variants, DASH-7 and one Evolution locomotive on lease from GE.[10] In October 2010, Ulaanbaatar Railway ordered 35 2TE116UM diesel freight locomotives from Transmash.[11]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Freight and passenger turnover in tons*km and passenger*km, respectively. 2007 Statistical Yearbook of Mongolia, p. 252
  2. ^ a b Montsame News Agency. Mongolia. 2006, ISBN 99929-0-627-8, p. 93
  3. ^ See http://www.mtz.mn/eng/index.php/2014-03-14-00-50-52/company-introduction
  4. ^ http://www.4icu.org/reviews/12212.htm
  5. ^ Lonely Planet Mongolia: Choibalsan transport
  6. ^ Lonely Planet Mongolia: Rail Transport
  7. ^ "Ukhaa Khudag-Gashuun Sukhait Railway". SMEC Holdings. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  8. ^ Railway Gazette International May 2014, p08.
  9. ^ 2Zagal-006 and -007 are rebuilt TE10s.
  10. ^ GE press release
  11. ^ "Railway Gazette: Ulaanbaatar Railway orders Transmash locomotives". Retrieved 2010-11-01. 

External links[edit]