The International Steam Pages

Steam Era Relics in Peru and Bolivia 2016
Steam Locomotives in Peru and Bolivia

Kevin Hoggett reports on his trip with the Railway Touring Company in October 2016.

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The 500mm gauge railway in the park was operating with the OK 0-4-0WT, Henschel 0-4-0WT (20252/1923) was also present. Both locomotives are oil (diesel?) fired. Trains do two circuits of the 550m loop per trip in true miniature railway fashion. 

A Beyer Peacock standard gauge 0-4-0WT is also plinthed here.

In Park Reducto in Miraflores, a Baldwin 3ft gauge 2-8-2 is plinthed numbered 5 with “President Leguia” on the tender. Kevin adds (1st January 2017) "Robert Wethham’s book on Railways of Peru has the following information: The livery and name is original! There is a Baldwin works photo of her with the name on the tender as preserved. It is BLW 59206 the last of three built 1926 for the Cusco-Santa Ana railway where she worked until at least 1978."

The Railway from Lima to Huancayo is spectacular, even with diesels. Unfortunately Andes class 2-8-0 206 (Beyer Peacock 6830/1937) which worked specials until not so long ago is dumped in a siding at St. Bartolome (where the trains reverse) along with a couple of GE diesels in Norfolk Southern colours. She looks complete, shame!

The narrow gauge line from Huancayo to Huancavelica has been converted to standard gauge. The line linking the two stations across the town is, however, disused so the line is still isolated from the rest of the network! – what was the point? There is only one diesel locomotive  serviceable which runs each way on alternate days, we were promised a charter railcar but it had failed! Also our promised visit to Chilca depot was not possible because it was a holiday. A 3ft gauge Baldwin 2-6-0 112 is preserved at the old standard gauge station. (WOSAS has Baldwin 2-6-0 101/2/3. 57796/1924.. 54261/1920. 54262/1020 and Dale Brown suggested some time back that it is really 102.)

The 3ft gauge line from Poroy (outside Cusco) to Aguas Calientes (for Machu Pichu) is very busy resembling London Underground in the rush hour at some times. Trains are mainly locomotive  hauled by a variety of American diesels with some railcars. The line continues past Aguas Calientes to Hydro Electrica, 15km further with 3 trains a day on this section. Apart from walking, the railway is the only access and everything (including Coca Cola) comes up by rail in box cars which are unloaded in the main street of the town.

At Cusco standard gauge station, a 3ft gauge OK 0-6-0T is plinthed. The only passenger trains are Belmond’s Andean explorer luxury service to Puno which we took (MLW Alco hauled).

At Juliaca station another Andes class, no 252 is preserved, although stripped of motion and fittings. According to a report on the LCGB website it is renumbered from 202, Beyer Peacock 7324/1950.


La Paz:

There appear to be no railways left operating in the city area. The station is well preserved and is now the terminus of the red line gondola cable car line – a network of these is being built in La Paz. Most of the track in the station yard has gone, but the locomotive  shed still remains containing at least two of the electric locomotives, no 21 and 36. Part of the roof has collapsed on top of them.

There are also 3 Ferrostaal railcar bodies in the area in use as shelters. The station contains a small railway museum which unfortunately was closed.


The dump in the desert has got Lonely Planet disease and is infested with mindless backpackers climbing, hanging and jumping on the locomotives waving their selfie-sticks. It’s only a matter of time before one gets hurt or worse, We saw one Dutch idiot jump from a locomotive  cab roof into the tender coal space, if it had been rotten, he would have gone straight through!

I had intended to try to find the locomotives at the depot / museum at Uyuni but we spent too much time at Pulacayo and had a flight to catch. I was aware that a museum was planned, and enquired locally but no one knew anything. I was very disappointed when I got home and saw the post on this site showing it was already open! (posted 17th October 2016 after we had left!). A locomotive was just visible behind the depot and the Hunslet in the street is still there.

Rob Dickinson