On the outskirts of Uyuni, a small trading region high in the Andean plain, “The Great Train Graveyard” attracts thousands of visitors every week. It’s a cemetery of trains, a massive ground filled with hollowed-out bodies of locomotives which were left to rust since the 20th century.
Uyuni is a jump-off point to the world’s largest salt flats, Salar De Uyuni. In the late 19th century, then-president Aniceto Arce determined to give Bolivia a state-of-the-art rail system, with Uyuni as its major hub. The Bolivian Railway Company invited engineers from England to construct rail lines between 1888 and 1892. Until the late 1940s, these trains carried minerals from the Andes mountains to the ports in the Pacific Ocean. But soon because of the mineral exhaustion, the mining industry collapsed. These mighty locomotives were abandoned and left to slowly succumb to the ever creeping hand of rust.
Most of the trains that can be found in the Graveyard date back to the early 20th century and were imported from Britain.
Visiting The Train Cemetery
The train cemetery is the first stop on the itinerary of every tour operator in Uyuni. The train cemetery usually gets flooded with people between 11 in the morning till late afternoon.
If you are visiting this place by yourself then it’s best to visit early in the morning or in the evening. It’s in walkable distance from the centre of Uyuni or you can take a taxi for around 15 Bolivianos.
If you are planning to go on a guided tour then Juakil De Los Andes offers daily tours at an affordable price.
Both, eery and beautiful this rail graveyard offers a glimpse into the past and conveys a sense of adventurous nostalgia.