Gauging Interest

So, it transpires that the gauge of railway in Mongolia and Russia differs from China and the rest of Europe, China and Europe being 3.5″ narrower than the Mongolian/Russian 5′ gauge. So to pass from China into Mongolia you need to change the bogies (wheels and running gear under the carriages). This bogie change all occurs in Er-Lian and we arrived there at around 9:30PM. At this point our passports are taken and squirrelled away (😧) and the process starts. It was all very interesting to start with and was supposed to take 3 hours. I looked out into the darkness trying to see what’s going on but it just seemed to be us pushed and jolted back and forth and no action for the first 4 and a half hours by which time our interest had wained and our bladders bloated (the toilets are locked for the complete process as it requires engineers to go under the carriages).

Finally we were pushed into a shed where a few carriages are seperated and lined up with hydraulic jacks that lifted the carriages around 4′ in the air (at which point I had assumed they had disconnected the bogie from the carriage) the bogies slid through under the carriages and the replacement bogies rolled in and then we get let down.

Job done, it took over 5 hours, please can we get some sleep…

Here’s the bogie sliding through
The carriage is lifted
The carriage is let back. Down


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