0-4-0ST number 5 'Tunari' stands outside the shed at Guaqui with 2-10-2 number 704 inside on 26/11/1993. Photo Richard Pelham
The Peruvian Corporation continued to own and operate the FC Guaqui - La Paz for
some ten years after the rest of the railways in Bolivia were merged into the state
owned Empresa Nacional de Ferrocarriles de Bolivia (ENFE). It was finally taken over
in 1974 but not officially integrated with the rest of the system until 1986. In the
FCGLP's formative years, it operated the first electrified section of railway in South
America, when it opened it's line from El Alto to La Paz on 1st December 1905. This
section was 8.9km long and entailed a descent of 1500 ft with a maximum gradient of 1 in
16. This section closed in the 1970s when it was cut by a new motorway and all traffic
into La Paz since has used the former FCAB's 41km long line from El Alto.
By contrast the FC La paz - Beni fell a very long way short of reaching its intended destination, the River Beni, some 350km from La Paz; and it eventually petered out at Unduavi, just 54km from the city. This section and the ongoing route surveyed involved gradients as steep as 1 in 16 like the FCGLP and in the expectation that this would also be electrified. This never happened and so passenger services were operated using railcars and a pair of Shays were purchased for freight working which by the 1950s were only operating twice weekly. Passenger services dwindled away in the 1960s with freight continuing on a spasmodic basis until about 1970. The line had been partially dismantled by 1971.
The FC Arica - La Paz, has had a chequered history, being difficult to operate with lengthy sections of rack operation within Chile; until the advent of diesel locomtives and railcars that could operate on an adhesion only basis. Between the mid 1950s and 1978 Chilean Railways operated an express service through to La Paz with diesel railcars fitted for rack operation; and in more recent times ENFE have operated a through railcar service, operating three times a week. However following flood damage in Chile in 2001 and the lines reopening in August 2002, there have only been freight operations.
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