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A train to two countries

Passenger rail links with Mongolia resumed in late April
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After a two-year absence, international trains No. 306/305 in service between Irkutsk and Ulaanbaatar formed by Federal Passenger Company (a subsidiary of Russian Railways) and No. 305/306 in service between Ulaanbaatar and Irkutsk formed by Ulaanbaatar Railway (railways of Mongolia) are returning to the schedule. 

As FPC Deputy General Director Denis Kuchinsky told 1520intentational, international passenger traffic with Mongolia has been suspended since March 10, 2020 in order to prevent the spread of the new coronovirus infection. In April of this year, the railway administrations of the two countries decided to open the previously operating route, as reported on the official Internet portal of Russian Railways. 

According to Russian Railways, the opening of international railway traffic is associated with the removal of restrictions on movement across the land section of the Russian-Mongolian border. Thus, the Irkutsk - Ulaanbaatar train formed by FPC will depart from Irkutsk once a week on Fridays, and from Ulaanbaatar on Saturdays.  

The FPC train will comprise compartment and sleeping cars, as well as a car with a special compartment for the transportation of people with limited mobility. The cost of compartment tickets starts from 10,800 rubles, and sleeper car tickets are respectively more expensive - from 16,500 rubles.  

“Ticket sales are open from 15 April. The first train departed on April 29 from Irkutsk,” said Denis Kuchinsky.

Trains depart from Irkutsk at 7:57, arriving in Ulaanbaatar the next day at 6:38. The train leaves for the return trip from Ulaanbaatar at 15:22 and arrives in Irkutsk at 15:15 the next day (local time). The trip takes a little less than a day - 22 hours 41 minutes. Trains depart from Irkutsk-Passenger station, and there are stops at seven stations before the destination (Ulaanbaatar): Slyudyanka 1, Ulan-Ude-Passenger, Dzhida, Naushki, Sukhbaatar, Darkhan, and Dzun-Khara. The longest stops of about 1 hour 45 minutes will be at the border stations of Naushki (Russia) and Sukhbaatar (Mongolia).

The train formed by Ulaanbaatar Railway runs between Irkutsk and Ulaanbaatar similarly, once a week, departing from Ulaanbaatar on Sundays and from Irkutsk on Tuesdays.
To enter the Russian Federation, all foreign nationals, with the exception of residents of the Eurasian Economic Union, must provide a negative PCR test. The test results will be checked by conductors when passengers board the trains and trailer cars formed by FPC. Passengers arriving in Mongolia are required to fill out a Medical Declaration aboard the train, which they will receive from the conductors.
According to FPC, 25,200 people were transported in direct international traffic between Russia and Mongolia by train No. 306/305 formed by FPC in 2019, up 18% against 2018 (21,400 passengers).

Sergei Volkov

11 may 2022

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