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Train To The Clouds, Salta, Argentina

Written on May 17, 2016

Featured Film Location: Train To The Clouds, Salta Province, Argentina

Located in Argentina’s remote Salta Province, the Train to the Clouds is a tourist train service running along the eastern part of the Salta–Antofagasta railway line of the Belgrano Railway that connects the Argentine northwest with the Chilean border in the Andes mountain range.

Reaching 4,220 m (13,850 ft) above sea level, the Train to the Clouds is one of the highest railways in the world. Onboard services include a restaurant and bar, with maté de coca available to ward off altitude sickness. An onboard clinic also has oxygen.

As the route passes through 21 tunnels, 29 bridges, 13 viaducts, 2 spirals and 2 zigzags, the landscape changes from cultivated fields, to heavily forested Yungas, to spectacular lunar mountain vistas, arid plains and river canyons. Polvorilla viaduct is the summit and turnaround point of the journey. The total distance covered is 434 km (270 mi) over the space of 15 hours. It is also possible to disembark at the Polvorilla viaduct and head back by other means.

The best time of year to shoot is in the dry season from April to November.

 

Local Flavour.

There are numerous stops along the way, some with locals selling artisan goods and regional cuisine. The area feels more like rural Bolivia than Buenos Aires, with many of the local inhabitants indigenous Indian, who make a living herding goats and growing maize. Gauchos riding horses across the landscape are also a common sight.

Film Permits.

Filming train exteriors takes little time to permit. If you need to close of carriages for filming on the train, this can take up to a month to permit. Larger commercial projects are charged at a higher rate although costs are negotiable, especially if the project is deemed to promote tourism in the area.

Basecamp, Crew & Equipment.

The colonial city of Salta is the closest major production centre to base your team. Some film crew and small equipment are available in Salta. Anything else can be easily brought in from Buenos Aires.

Contact us if you are looking for a Salta based fixer, or additional production service support from Buenos Aires.

 

Train to the Clouds (1) Train to the Clouds (2) Train to the Clouds (3) Train to the Clouds (4) Train to the Clouds (5)

Location photos and notes courtesy of Pancho Casagrande and Humberto Martiznez.