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N 43° 40′ 58′′, E 111° 57′ 22′′
956 MASL
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The inaugural train arrives at Zamyn-Uud station on the Sino-Mongolia border on the Trans–Mongolian Railway in 1956, decorated with portraits of Soviet leader Nikolai Bulganin, Mongolian leader Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal and Chinese leader Mao Zedong (left to right). China, Russia and Mongolia jointly constructed the Trans–Mongolian Railway between 1947 and 1955 to Russian broad gauge specifications.

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Statues of two 19-meter-tall, 34-meter-long Brontosauruses span Chinese National Road G55. The Erlian Basin has been renowned internationally since American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews discovered dinosaur fossils there in the 1920s. Since then, the remains of over 20 different kinds of dinosaur have been discovered in the area, and a dinosaur museum and theme park have been built to promote and cater to dinosaur-related tourism.

1727: The Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689) and the Treaty of Kyakhta (1727) regulated the relations between Imperial Russia and the Qing Empire of China until the mid-19th century. The caravan trade between Russia and China through Kyakhta Town, located at the south of Lake Baikal, was opened in 1727. Mostly, Siberian furs were traded for Chinese cotton, silk, tobacco, and tea. The route ran south to Urga (now Ulaanbaatar), southeast across the Gobi Desert to Kalgan (now Zhangjiakou), and southeast over the mountains to Peking (now Beijing).


1820: A post named “Yilin” in the Gobi Desert between Urga and Kalgan was established. “Yilin” is the catachrestic transliteration of the Mongolian “Ereen,” which means “multicolored” and refers to the landscape of the Dabusan Nur salt lake to the north of the post.


1899: The Qing government established a telegraph line that connected Urga southeast to Kalgan. A telegraph station was set up at the location of the Yilin Post, which by then was marked on the map as “Erlian.”


1909: The Peking–Kalgan (Beijing–Zhangjiakou) Railway was completed.


1911: The Chinese government decided that Inner and Outer Mongolia should be formally incorporated into China, and it opened a colonization bureau in Urga (Ulaanbaatar).


1918: An automobile road connecting Urga and Kalgan was completed. Dacheng Zhangku, an auto transport company, was opened by merchants in Kalgan, the capital of Chahar. Erlian became one of the major stations along this transportation route.


1922: American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews led several expeditions through the politically disturbed China into the Gobi Desert and Mongolia, known as the “Central Asiatic Expeditions” (1922–1928). Andrews and his team found fossils of various kinds of dinosaur around the Dabusan Nur to the north of Erlian.


1924: Outer Mongolia was established as Mongolian People’s Republic in 1924 and recognized by the Republic of China in 1946.


1939: Mengjiang, also known as Monkukuo and consisted of the previously Chinese provinces of Suiyuan and Chahar in Inner Mongolia, was formed as a puppet state of the Japanese Empire. Mengjiang returned to Chinese control after the defeat of the Japanese Empire in 1945.


1947: Through a joint effort of China, Russia, and Mongolia, the Trans-Mongolian Railway, which follows the Urga–Kalgan trade route, was built between 1947 and 1955 using Russia’s wider broad gauge. The northern section that connects Ulan-Ude on the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia and Ulan Bator (Urga) was completed in 1950 and reached the Chinese border in 1955. The southern section that connects Jining on the Beijing–Baotou Railway and Erlian was built between 1953 and 1955.


1956: The Trans-Mongolian Railway was opened, providing a shorter line connecting Beijing with Moscow than the one through Manchuria. Erlian Town (Erenhot) was established in the same year.


1965: During the Sino-Soviet Split (1956–1966), to prevent Soviet invasion through the Trans-Mongolian Railway, China changed the entire southern section of the railway between Jining and Erenhot from Russian broad gauge to standard gauge, and set up a gauge-changing station at Erenhot.


1989: The Dinosaur Museum of Erlianhot was built to display dinosaur fossils found around the Dabusan Nur.


1992: A new constitution of Mongolia was formed. The Erenhot Road Port opened, and the track from Erlianhot to Zamyn Uud was replaced with dual gauge tracks to promote railway inter-operability.


1995: During the late 1990s, the Dabusan Nur to the north of Erenhot provided an economic boom to the city’s chemical industry.


2004: The Erenhot Road Port was expanded in 2000. The Erlian Railway Station was expanded, and the Zamyn Uud Free Trade Zone was established in 2004.


2009: The Erlian Basin Cretaceous Dinosaur National Geopark was established.


2014: The Erenhot Road Port was expanded again in 2011. The Erenhot National Key Development and Open Pilot Zone was established in 2014.


2016: Plans to develop a “China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor” were jointly announced by the leaders of the three countries in 2016.

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