The exterior of the FC Cochabamba - Santa Cruz station building in Cochabamba in August 1954. Photo David Ibbotson - Chris Walker Collection
Santa Cruz was at one time planned to be at the junction of a network of lines connecting
La Paz to Brazil and Argentina. Whilst the line through to Corumba in Brazil opened in 1956 and
that to Embarcacion in Argentina in 1958, the continuation westwards towards Cochabamba
was never built. Similarly the FC Cochabamba - Santa Cruz to which it was intended to
connect only reached Arani, 57kms to the east. Instead a new paved 312 mile long highway
linking Cochabamba and Santa Cruz was opened in 1954. However even in 2015 there remains a
possibility that a connecting line between eastern and western lines may be built with
the Santa Cruz area growing in importance to the Bolivian economy with the decline of
mining in the Andes to the west.
Prior to the construction of the FC Cochabamba - Santa Cruz, the local electricity company, Empresa Luz y Fuerza Electrica Cochabamba had built two 75cm gauge lines, an electric tramway to the west and the FC Luz y Fuerza de Cochabamba, a conventional railway to Arani, some 38 miles to the east. The FC Cochabamba - Santa Cruz took this line over, converting both it and some of its locomotives to metre gauge.
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