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The eerie train graveyards where locomotives go once they run out of steam.

Posted by Emily O'Dowd on Apr 23, 2017

Train 5.0.jpgAfter years of faithful service, not all trains are broken up or sold for scrap, some find themselves in train graveyards, slowly rusting and being enveloped by nature. Retired from the tracks by obsolescence, outdated technology, financial cuts or political changes, there are a number of these giant's graveyards scattered around the world. The photos of these yards let us witness the magnificent decay of these once mighty vehicles. One of our readers was recently in Kuşadası, Turkey which serves as an afterlife to 33 steam locomotives and sent us some exclusive photographs. Another famous site for abandoned train bodies is the ‘Great Train Graveyard’ which can be found in the deserted outskirts of Bolivia, in a place called Uyuni deep into the Andean plains. Whilst in Germany an entire railway yard, known as Komplex M is home to dozens of rusting relics of Cold War rail and in Hungary an entire workshop has been abandoned. 

Turkey - Kuşadası

In Turkey's graveyard, the manufacturing years of the trains range from 1891 to 1951 with the oldest built by British born Stephenson. There are a selection of trains from Germany, Sweden, US and France. This unique museum is the biggest steam engine museum in Europe. Recently visited by Shaun "Chalky" and Clair White who have kindly shared the images, among the trainsets on view, there’s an English made locomotive which works with wood – of which there are only two of them in the world. The historic site is located on a former section of the ORC mainline which is the oldest line in Turkey once connected with Iraq. Its extensive collection is owned and maintained by Turkish State Railways after most exhibits have retired from service.

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Turkey photos courtesy of Shaun "Chalky" ( @shaun_chalky and Clair White 

Bolivia - Cementerio de Trenes

Many trains at the site date back to the early 19th century and were imported from Britain. Positioned on the world’s biggest and highest salt plain, it has an estimated ten billion tonnes of salt circulating the area. As a result, Uyuni’s salt winds have fully corroded the metal and many of the sets have been vandalised over the years.  

Uyuni was an important transportation hub in South America and it connects several major cities. In the early 19th century, a new project was proposed to build a larger network out of Uyuni but was eventually abandoned due to a combination of technical issues and rising tension with neighbouring countries. This meant that the trains and other equipment was left to rust in the unforsaken landscape.


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Bolivia Photos courtesy of Jimmy Harris. 

Germany - Komplex M.

Known to urban explorers as Komplex M., this neglected railway yard, stocked with decrepit locomotives, is understood to have been built in the 1980s as a ferry harbour terminal. Some of trains abandonded there are Soviet-era locomotives produced in Ukraine in the 1970s and early ’80s, and imported into East Germany. 



Photos courtesy of Eike Ramba for more from Komplex X click here

 Hungary - Istvantelek Railway Workshop

Located near Budapest, the rusting rolling stock of the country’s Cold War past has been left to rot for many years amid what has been termed the Red Star Train Graveyard.




 (All Istvantelek’s images by True British Metal )

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Topics: quirky

Emily O'Dowd

Written by Emily O'Dowd

On graduating with a degree in English Literature at Royal Holloway University of London, Emily joined the editorial team. When she isn't writing articles for the website or interviewing experts in the industry she enjoys reading, running and sailing.

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