Trains play an important role in Mongolian transportation. The international line, Trans-Mongolian Railway, linking Russia, Mongolia and China once a week, is one of the most famous rail routes in the world.
Mongolian local passenger trains mainly follow the Trans-Mongolia Line, but stop at more stations. Local rail services operate every day northbound from Ulan Bator to Darhan, Sukhbaatar and Erdenet; and southbound from Ulan Bator to Zamyn-Uud, Choir and Shainshand.
In addition, there are two freight lines: Darkhan to Erdenet (the mining center) and Ulan Bator to Baganuur.
Domestic passenger trains have three classes of seat: soft sleeper, hard sleeper and hard seat.
It is the best class on a Mongolian train, and the most expensive among the three classes. Four beds are in a private compartment. You will get an assigned berth after the ticket has been issued. A blanket and a sheet are provided at extra cost.
Also called platzkartnuu, is less comfortable than soft sleeper. Berths will be assigned after the ticket is issued. A blanket and a sheet are provided at extra cost.
Hard seat is almost the same as hard sleeper. But seats are not assigned. And there seems to be no limit to the amount of passengers. So hard seat carriages can be very crowded and noisy.
Trans-Mongolian trains have deluxe 2-berth sleeper compartments (also called spalny wagon), first class 4-berth sleeper compartments and second class 4-berth sleeper compartments (also called kupi).
It is also known as deluxe sleeper. Two comfortable berths are in a lockable compartment. Each compartment has a power socket, a sofa and a luggage rack. Two compartments share a western-style toilet. First class 2-berth is the most comfortable and expensive among the three classes.
In China it is called soft sleeper class. There are four berths in a private compartment. First class 4-berth is only available on China-made trains. Mongolia-made trains only have first class 2-berth and second class 4-berth. A western toilet is set at the end of each carriage.
In China it is called hard sleeper class. It is almost the same as first class 4-berth, four berths are in a compartment. A western toilet is available at the end of each carriage.
Mongolia is a Buddhist country, thus many of its traditional holidays derive from religious culture.
There are two trains running between China and Russia including Trans-Mongolian Railway.