Abandoned subway stations, such as the ‘ghost stations’ of the Paris Metro, have long been sought out by urban explorers.
The narrow-gauge Post Office Railway (aka Mail Rail), inspired by a similar freight network built by the Chicago Tunnel Company, opened in 1927 and operated between the Paddington Sorting Office and Whitechapel Eastern Delivery Office.
The railway, which served eight stations along 6.5 miles (10.5 km) of track, was closed for financial reasons in 2003 after 75 years of operation.
But as the images show, the deserted network remains in good condition today.
It’s a cemetery for trains, for locomotives. And it’s so big that it looks as though all of the trains in South America were moved to Uyuni, Bolivia, to chug their last chug.
Filled with hollowed out bodies that have completely rusted over and other remains, the “Great Train Graveyard” can be found on the otherwise deserted outskirts of Uyuni, a small trading region high in the Andean plain.
Uyuni has long been known as an important transportation hub in South America and it connects several major cities.
In the early 19th century, big plans were made to build an even bigger network of trains out of Uyuni, but the project was abandoned because of a combination of technical difficulties and tension with neighboring countries.
The trains and other equipment were left to rust and fade out of memory.
Most of the trains that can be found in the Graveyard date back to the early 20th century and were imported from Britain.
In other places in the world, the mighty steel trains would have held up better.
The salt winds that blow over Uyuni, which hosts the world’s largest salt plain, have corroded all of the metal.
Without guards or even a fence, these pieces were picked over and vandalized long ago.
One of the great innovations in a sea of great things accomplished during the Franklin Roosevelt administrations was the formation of the Farm Security Administration, a division of the government established to help farmers through the devastating Dust Bowl and Great Depression.
A subset of the FSA was a photographic unit which was set up to document the progress made by the FSA (and provide, I am sure, for some much-needed good news, a hearts-and-minds campaign).
This division was headed by Roy Emerson Stryker, who wound up with the greatest and most beautiful photographic history ever assembled in the United States.
There were about 77,000 images made, and I recall reading (somewhere) that the total budget for the Stryker group for the years 1936-1942 was about $100,000, meaning that each completed image cost just over a dollar apiece.
So far as art funding by the government is concerned, that about the best it has done.