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Photo Tours &
Railfan Tours

Mongolia Tanago Railfan tours

Mongolia Autumn 2019

Branch lines and the Gobi Desert

26. August - 15. September 2019

Mongolia Autumn 2019 Branch lines and the Gobi Desert

In addition to our classic Mongolia Tour (Mongolia - the Transmongolian Railway in summer from 25 May to 1 June 2019), we offer you with this tour a completely new travel program with a modular structure: we visit the remote branch line Choibalsan - Ereentsav in the extreme northeast of Mongolia, on which form signals and the Russian ALCO copies of the TEM2 series are still in use today. In addition, the spectacular desert passages of the Transmongolian railway in the south of the country are on the programme, followed by the most important branch lines of the Transmongolian: Sharin Gol, Erdenet, and the private Chinese connecting line with 3 railway companies! The trip is divided into 3 parts, each part can be booked separately or together with other parts.

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No. of participants max. 12
Duration see program
Meals halfboard
Price from 1.770 Euro
open for bookings Sold out.
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Part 1 Semaphores: (August 26 - September 1, 2019):

August 26, 2019, Monday:
Arrival with Aeroflot or MIAT (the Mongolian airline) in the morning in Ulan Bator (flights not included). Transfer to the city with day rooms in a good tourist class hotel. Depending on the available time we take the first pictures of the railway operation in the Mongolian capital before we have to drive back to the airport in the afternoon to fly from there to Choibalsan.
Overnight in a simple hotel near Choibalsan.
Meals: Dinner.

We are happy to book the international flights for you. Our entire program is based on flights from Aeroflot and MIAT (flight schedule 10/2018). You are welcome to travel with other airlines, but may have an extra night before or after the tour. Departure in Europe is in most cases Sunday, August 25, 2019!

27 August 2019, Tuesday - 30 August 2019, Friday:
In the good old days, the Bayantumen railway line from Choibalsan to Eerentsav and on to Russia, completely isolated from the rest of the Mongolian railway network, served an extensive uranium traffic. The mines have all been shut down for a long time, and the traffic volume has become very clear. GmPs operate with old TEM2 diesel locomotives.

Everything is a bit run down, in the distant Ulan Bator the railway plays no role at all, and so also the form signals still existing at the intermediate stations simply stopped, and are still served today like 60 years ago!

We will photograph the planned trains, which are making slow progress "thanks to" poorly maintained railways. There are countless photo possibilities, which we can work off extensively! The train will not set any speed records, and the duration of intermediate stops is rather long than too short.

In the evening we plan night shots of the diesel locomotive(s) with train in the station or railway depot Choibalsan.
Overnight stay in a simple hotel near Choibalsan.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

31 August 2019, Saturday:
Also the city Choibalsan is very photogenic: here the Soviet time is still alive: Tractors and tanks as monuments, and a typical Soviet architecture of the 1950s and 1960s remind of the big neighbour in the north.
In the evening we fly back to Ulan Bator.
Overnight stay in a good tourist class hotel (3 stars) in Ulan Bator.
Meals: Breakfast.

1 September 2019, Sunday:
In the morning transfer to the airport and flight home.
Meals: Breakfast (possibly packaged).

End part 1 or continue with part 2.

Part 2 Gobi Desert (1 - 7 September 2019):

September 1, 2019, Sunday:
Arrival with Aeroflot or MIAT (the Mongolian airline) in the morning in Ulan Bator (flights not included) and transfer to Ulan Bator Central Station. From there we take the train (couchette car) to Shaishand in the south of the country.
Overnight by train.
Meals: Dinner.

We are happy to book the international flights for you. Our entire program is based on flights from Aeroflot and MIAT (flight schedule 10/2018). You are also welcome to travel with other airlines, but may have an extra night before the official start of the tour. Departure in Europe is in most cases Thursday, September 5, 2019!

2 September 2019, Monday - 6 September 2019, Friday:
The main route of Transmongol from Europe via Russia to China leads through the Gobi Desert. For the Mongolian railway, this section is the biggest challenge for people and machines. Temperatures of -20°C in winter, glowing heat with well over 45°C in summer, sandstorms, sudden temperature fluctuations - and the steepest section of the Mongolian railway ever!

The Mongolian Railway nevertheless builds most of the freight trains on this section with a maximum load in order to run as much tonnage as possible at once. It is understandable that not every locomotive engine is able to do this without complaint. For us this means a variety in the clothing: from the old M62 and 2M62 to the new 2TE116UD or 2TE25KM, of which the Staatsbahn has only recently ordered new units, everything is used that is more or less suitable for desert conditions.

We are concentrating on the outstanding motifs along the mountain passages in the southern section. Here, the heavy freight trains have to travel through a spectacular low mountain range landscape on a winding and steep route. Since we do not want to drive back to our hotel in Shaishand every time off the main roads, we will spend some nights in a Yurten settlement.

On the 6th of September we take the train back to Ulan Bator and spend the night there.
Overnight in a hotel (Shaishand and 1 night in Ulan Bator), in a yurt, and 1 night in a couchette car.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

September 7, 2019, Saturday:
In the morning transfer to the airport and flight home.
Meals: Breakfast (possibly packaged).

End of Part 2.

Part 3: Branch lines  (7 September - 15 September 2019):

7 September 2019, Saturday:
Arrival with Aeroflot or MIAT (the Mongolian airline) in the morning in Ulan Bator (flights not included) and transfer to Ulan Bator Central Station. From there we take the train (couchette car) to Darkhan.
Overnight stay in a simple hotel in Darkhan or by train (depending on timetable in August 2019!)
Meals: Dinner.

We are happy to book the international flights for you. Our entire program is based on flights from Aeroflot and MIAT (flight schedule 10/2018). You are also welcome to travel with other airlines, but may have an extra night before the official start of the tour. Departure in Europe is in most cases Thursday, August 29, 2019!

8 September 2019, Sunday - 14 September 2019, Saturday:
The branch line to Sharin Gol is mainly used to transport coal from the mines at Sharin Gol. A daily GmP provides public transport, in addition 1-2 freight trains run.
Most of the time 2M62 are used for the covering, but as the route is very demanding, even the M62 double locomotives can only handle a maximum of 18 loaded coal wagons in the gradients towards Darkhan.
We will also pay a visit to the coal loading in Sharin Gol and with our modern SUVs we will be able to drive to really off-road photo spots!

North of Darkhan there is also another Mongolian connecting railway, which has a quite idiosyncratic operating procedure: the first 50 km from the mines to the state railway are jointly operated by MTZ and the private company DMP, here the orange China diesel of the series CKD4B are used. For the next 72 km the company will use the private BTEG, which uses CKD4B in white-blue paint. Finally the state railway transports the trains on the last 7 km to the main line of the Transmongol ...

For this line there is no fixed timetable, the trains run when the bunkers of the mine are full. We will therefore be in close contact with the local railroaders and will organise an optional visit if interested. This train is not part of the official tour program!

The second important mine railway in the region starts south of Darkhan and runs west through some spectacular river and mountain landscapes to Erdenet. Here all diesel locomotive series of the Staatsbahn are used, M62 in single or double version are currently the main supports of the traffic. Also here we will be able to reach the remote photo places perfectly with our SUVs.

Since the distance of 150 km is too long to reach it daily from Darkhan and to drive off completely, we will spend 1 night, possibly also 2 nights, in Erdenet. There is a very simple motel, alternatively we talk with the state railway about providing us with a sleeping and dining car. If all the ropes break, we will spend the night in a nearby yurt.

On September 14th we take the train back to Ulan Bator and spend the night there.
Overnight in a motel, train, or yurt (not yet cleared) in Erdenet, plus hotel in Darkhan and Ulan Bator.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

15 September 2019, Sunday:
In the morning transfer to the airport and flight home.
Meals: Breakfast (possibly packaged).

End of Part 3.
 

 

Your tour prices:

only regular land program, per person (on request we can arrange the necessary flights to and from Ulan Bator):

Part 1: Semaphores 26 August - 1 September 2019:

1.940 Euro in half double room
   160 Euro single room supplement
 

Part 2: Gobi Desert 1 - 7 September 2019

1.860 Euro in half double room
   180 Euro single room supplement
 

Part 3: Branch Lines 7 - 15 September 2019:

1.770 Euro in half double room 
   140 Euro single room supplement
 

All trip: all 3 parts from 26 August - 15 September 2019:

5.170 Euro in half double room 
   480 Euro single room supplement

"We will make this trip as a small group with updated prices. At the moment the prices are based on the booking of 4 participants. Each additional booking lowers the price per person".
 

Our services:

Part 1 (Semaphores):

  • Line and station shots of regular freight and passenger trains;
  • Special Ereentsav - Choibalsan train;
  • Special train Choibalsan - Khavirga - Choibalsan;
  • Night shots;
  • Flight with Hunnu Air Ulan Bator - Choibalsan - Ulan Bator in economy class;
  • 2 nights in a simple hotel in Choibalsan;
  • 1 night in a tourist class hotel in Ulan Bator.

The minimum number of participants is 6, the maximum 12.

Part 2 (Gobi Desert):

  • Route and station recordings of regular freight trains;
  • Night shots
  • 1 overnight stay in a yurt (no single room possible);
  • 1 night in a tourist class hotel in Ulan Bator;
  • 2 nights in a couchette or sleeping car (no single compartment possible);
  • 2 nights in a simple Hptel in Shaishand,

The minimum number of participants is 10; the maximum number is 16.

Part 3 (branch lines):

  • Route and station recordings of regular freight and passenger trains;
  • Night shots;
  • 1 overnight stay in a yurt (single room not possible);
  • 1 night in a tourist class hotel in Ulan Bator;
  • 2 nights in a couchette or sleeping car (no single compartment possible);
  • 3 nights in a simple Hptel in Darkhan.

The minimum number of participants is 10; the maximum number is 16.

For all travel parts:

  • Depot and service shed sightseeing wherever possible;
  • off-road vehicles (4 x 4);
  • all necessary transfers;
  • Visitor and photo permits, entrance and visit fees;
  • Hotel room with shower/WC based on "half double room";
  • Single room against surcharge;
  • Meals according to programme;
  • Water bottles in the car (1 bottle per participant / day);
  • Tanago information material;
  • Expert and experienced Tanago tour guide (German and English speaking), plus local tour guide.
  • Tips, personal expenses, flights are not included in the tour price.

This trip will be charged in foreign currencies. Since the exchange rate of foreign currencies to the Euro (our invoice currency) has become very unjustifiable, and we do not want to burden the tour price with fictitious currency reserves, the published price represents the exchange rate to 1.10.2018. We therefore expressly reserve the right to price deviations due to international currency fluctuations and any unforeseen performance deviations of our partners.

If you are travelling alone, you can also book a "half" double room. We will do our best to allocate you another "half" double room booker. However, if this is not possible, we will charge you the single supplement. If, contrary to expectations, we do not reach the minimum number of participants, the trip can still be carried out with a small group surcharge.

This trip is organised and carried out by Tanago. 

Notes:

Remarks:
Even though more and more people and companies are settling outside of the capital, the impression of total emptiness and unbelievable endless horizons often remains. Especially in the Gobi desert, we will hardly encounter any settlements.

Please note that the country's infrastructure can not be compared to Central Europe. Buses and road conditions are not up to standard in Western Europe. Our vehicles during the stay in Mongolia are all-terrain SUVs from South Korean / Japanese production. With these vehicles, we can get there (and through) almost everywhere. Steep hills, raging fords, or mud and slants do not matter at all. Many photo spots are located far away from all main roads, or any road at all and can only be reached by our SUV.

Away from the capital, our nights have to be spent on a basic level of accommodation. The yurts are clean, but occasionally do not have electricity or running water. Our Ulan Bator hotel is a good tourist class property with large rooms and well-functioning free Wi-Fi.

From the loneliness of the country to the hustle and bustle of the capital Ulan Bator, there is a huge difference. Perhaps the most annoying element of modern times in Ulan Bator is the daily traffic jam on the main streets of the city. On all main roads!

The published program represents the planning status in October 2018. Changes can not be excluded and will be communicated to booked participants.

Temperatures & Technology:
Mongolia is a windy country in every season. The weather can change completely within a day: from warm autumn to really cold. Expect temperatures between 10 ° and 25 ° C. Outside the Gobi desert, we hope to enjoy the golden fall foliage colour. Depending on the summer rainfall, maybe even still a few green spots. There is only sand, boulders and rocks in the Gobi. The sky is mostly blue and sunny, it hardly rains. The sun seems much more intense than ours.

You may need a world travel plug (adapter). Read the health information about the country on the internet!

Immigration requirements:
For Germans, it is possible to enter without visa for 30 days if coming for purely tourist purposes. Required is in any case a passport with at least 1 free page and a validity of minimum of 6 months after the departure date leaving the country! Other nationalities inquire at their embassy please.