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(Photo Story) The train graveyard at the 'edge of the world'

Photos logoPhotos 07-11-2016

In the heart of southern Bolivia lies a mysterious train graveyard, where the skeletons of British steam locomotives and rail cars rust away on the edge of the world's largest salt flats.

© skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock © skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock

Melbourne-based photographer Chris Staring captured a series of stunning photos of the train graveyard, known locally as the 'Cementerio de Trenes'.

© skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock

The graveyard contains over 100 steam locomotives and rail cars which have been dumped around a stretch of disused track 1.86 miles southwest of Uyuni, Bolivia.

© skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock © skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock

Many of the trains and locomotives are British imports and have eroded in the harsh Bolivian climate.

© skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock

Chris said: "Most of the 19th century steam locomotives were imported from Britain, so they were designed and built for the British climate. Although built to withstand harsh weather conditions, the locomotives proved to be no match for the challenging conditions that they found themselves in while chugging their way through the high altitudes, thin air, corrosive salty winds and extreme temperatures in Bolivia and Chile.

© skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock \

© skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock

"One fatal oversight can attribute for the high number of dented and twisted locomotives and rail cars that can be found in the train graveyard. The steam locomotives were being operated at more than 3500 meters above sea level, which is a far higher altitude than they were designed for. This increase in altitude lowered the boiling point of the water in the engines from 100 degrees to about 98 degrees which meant the engines would literally run out of steam and derail."

© skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock

Nowadays, most of the locomotives and train cars have been stripped bare for scrap metal and parts, some vandalized and others even turned into swing sets to provide a memorable photo op for tourists passing through on their way to the salt flats.

© skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock © skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock

The graveyard's unique location on the edge of the Bolivian salt flats accelerates the corrosion process of the trains.

© skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock

In the pictures, rusting rail cars and train skeletons can be seen pictured against striking skies. Chris ventured out to explore the area a few hours before sunset.

© skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock © skaremedia/REX/Shutterstock

Chris said: "The sunset was spectacular and the sky exploded with the most intense colors I've ever seen. I stayed for a few hours to watch the sunset, climb around the rusting carcasses and taking as many photos as I could before walking back to town in the dark."

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More information and pictures can be found on:

Chris' website: www.chrisstaring.com / Chris' Instagram: www.instagram.com/SkareMedia 

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