Bombo region, Huanuni - Llalagua railroad, road or canal route destroyed by earthquakes.
This series of satellite images shows what appears to be the remains of an old track amongst the mountains to the east of lake Poopo and north of the tin mining centre at Huanuni. At first it looked like the turning circle for a railway and route of old railway, but no bridges could be seen, large parts seem to have disappeared and also sections seem to have fallen down the mountain at the south east end.

I wondered if it might have been part of the route of an old canal, since there are many agricultural terraces nearby, but better reolution satellite images now suggest that it may after all have been part of the railway, this section destroyed by earthquakes and the railway later rebuilt on the opposite side of the river to continue up to the mines at Uncia. Although ground visits were made in October 2011 the situation is no clearer since no actual remains of railway infrastructure could be seen and it is a mystery how a railway could cross what are today vast chasms without leaving traces of bridges, rails etc.

18-20.04South, 066-46.26West

H1 West

The north-western section shows the route runnning at three levels, it enters from level 3 and crossed to "turning circle west" then doubled back to "turning circle east" before heading north again at level 1 but today the route crosses large ravines and part has disappeared into the river valley below.

The north-western section came down via the cutting (left) and continued on the embankment (right) - if a railway line.

But water also gathered in the loop of the embankment acting as a reservoir (left) and was discharged by this conduit (right).

H1 to H3

This ground view shows the destruction of the route which formerly crossed from the turning circle to the cutting marked above.

Three levels of the route were visited in October 2011.

Above left, level 1 looking west, above right, level 2 looking west.

Above, level 1 was originally faced on the inside with a wall of stone.

Above left, level 3 looking west, above right, level 3 looking east.

Above, level 3 then changes from a cutting to an embankment but a hillside has risen through the original route on the far side and a ravine opened on the nearside..

Above, the two lower levels should have returned via this turning circle, but a hillside has erupted through it.

Above, looking into the remains of the turning circle.

Above, after exiting the turning circle, the route formerly crossed from one embankment to the other, i.e. from "southern spur" to "northern spur" where there is now a ravine.

H3, or level 3 continues towards the south-east.

H3 to H5

H5 and H6









Ground view of above section of the route.



End of the route in south-east zone. There is now a deep ravine where the original route must have crossed.

View over to the cutting on far side of ravine.

Above left, after crossing what is now a ravine, a cutting enters the hillside. Above right, higher up the slope, the cutting ends in a dead end. It is not clear how if a railway, it joined to the replacement railway which is also higher up the slope.

Route of the presumed abandoned railway, with sections seen above coloured blue.
Note how the route runs north to H1 then doubles back to H6 before turning again and heading northwards
parallel to itself but at a lower altitude.

North West enlargement, Route with sections seen above coloured blue.

South East enlargement, Route with sections seen above coloured blue.

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Jim Allen email: