The Uyuni train cemetery: the photo story of a place that has stopped in time


This line connected Uyuni with Antofagasta and saw the first train stop forever in November 1890. Looking at this place today, one would never think that it is the first Bolivian railway and a great project by President Aniceto Arce.


These trains, or rather, these wrecks, once carried gold, silver and tin. Now, however, in the Uyuni train cemetery there are just twisted and rusty trains that have become a tourist and decrepit place of the past.

Uyuni: an abandoned train covered by writers and graffiti artists
Photo by Trevor McKinnon on Unsplash

But all good things have a beginning and an end. And with them also this railway line that saw its end with the beginning of the war between Chile and Bolivia in 1879.

Today the Uyuni train cemetery has become a crossing point for travelers heading to the Salar de Uyni, an incredible “sea of salt” with incredible scenery.
Some time ago the “Dakar” rally also passed through here, skimming over this heap of metal in the open air that now admits all types of travelers.

Uyuni train cemeteri: abandoned locomotive
Photo by tatiana perez from FreeImages

Thus, as time passes and up here at 3000 meters above sea level the only thing that still whistles is the wind, the writers seem to want to hide the progress of rust and decay with their drawings and their writings on the trains.

Image by Jerzy Andrzej Kucia from Pixabay

Although today this place is a source of attraction for many onlookers and tourists, since the 1940s it has also been a victim of human predation and looting. Some attempts to reuse the trains have not been successful and for now they remain here waiting for passengers who will never arrive…

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