Russian Railways (RZD) has acquired 50% of shares of Mongolia’s Ulan-Bator Railways (UBTZ).

The Russian Government has signed a decree transferring the federally owned shares in UBTZ to the trust management of RZD for a period of five years.

The move follows an agreement in May which stated that the Mongolian rail network will be 50% owned and managed by RZD, 25% by state mineral company Erdenes MGL and the remainder 25% by the former Mongolian national railway.

RZD president Vladimir Yakunin said the company has already started work on track repairs, upgrading rolling stock and improving transport technology for UBTZ.

The joint stock company Ulan-Bator Railways was founded in 1949 by the USSR and Mongolia with each country holding a 50% stake in the company.

The railway covers 1,815km of broad gauge network and carries 60% of freight in the country. RZD, however, believes that more than 70% of the 2,500 wagons and 50% of the track needs replacing.