One Way Ticket

by T-Knox

One of the locomotives abandoned at the Train Cemetery near Uyuni, Bolivia with the inscription "Life is like this" painted on its side. Plans are currently being discussed on building a museum in the area.

Between the rolling slopes and valleys of the Andes in rural Bolivia lies a unique cemetery. Two miles outside of Uyuni located in the southwest of the country, was a booming railway junction with four lines that now is nothing more than abandoned trains rusting under the sun.

The railways were built in the late 1800s at the cusp of the new century to improve transportation to ports on the Pacific coastline of Bolivia. The main purpose of the railway lines was to move minerals mined there, yet when the mineral deposits in the region were depleted, the train whistles became few and far between. Today, one can follow the tracks outside of Uyuni to visit the site. The trains were driven there in the 1940s and abandoned and ever since became known as the train cemetery.

The end of the line for the trains was also hindered by the indigenous Aymara people who thought the railway was imposing on their land. These trains were the first these Bolivian people ever saw. There were several attempts to sabotage the line to stop the trains. They finally got their wish when the mining industry came crashing down in 1940.

Among the relics in the graveyard is the train that was robbed by the infamous Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid known as “Banditos Yanquis” in Bolivia. The twosome along with their gang of comrades who became known as the “Wild Bunch” would hold up trains for their cargo. Despite their colorful history the trains are now plastered with graffiti and the train cemetery has become a major tourist attraction in the area.

Read more:

Uyuni | Wikipedia

Train Cemetery

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