Abandoned places: Transport Graveyards

Abandoned places are cool: this is a fact. Some are creepy, others are romantic, or even mysterious - but they're all very cool. These spots around Europe are all well worth looking out if you are after something different.

Please note: the details of these abandoned places were accurate at the time of reporting, however developers have a habit of purchasing abandoned places at a cheap price and re-developing them. This may well have occurred to any of the abandoned sites listed here since the time this information was published.


Red Star Train Graveyard, Istvantelek, Budapest

Located in Istvantelek, Budapest, this monster of a train repair shop clocks in at a staggering 22 hectares. At one time, it was one of the most-important repair yards in the whole of Hungary. So great was its strategic value that the management constructed a gigantic air raid shelter there during World War Two that could house 800 workers (oddly, they never quite finished it, which rather defeats the purpose). Yet today it is mostly forgotten, even by locals. The few that do brave its interior are usually dedicated urban explorers, lured by the thrill of seeing these ghostly old trains. The cemetery part of the shop, which is also known to some as the Red Star Train Graveyard, is actually relatively small, compared with the rest of the site. Yet it still manages to cram in a variety of rusting old steam engines. Parked nose-to-tail and with their paint stripped off, these hulking locomotives are a steampunk fan’s dreams come true. Hulking, juddering beasts that once kept an entire Communist state running.


Krakow Locomotive Graveyard, Poland

Seen from above, the train graveyard at Krakow in Poland looks delightfully vast. Rows of stock march steadily off toward the horizon, their arrow-straight lines broken only by the occasional tree sprouting up between the tracks. Segregated and geometrical, they seem to go on forever. On the ground, things aren’t any-less interesting. Old Soviet-era engines are hemmed in back to back, their buffers crashing up against one another. Despite the odd bit of rust, most are in fairly good lick; as if they’re merely resting rather than decaying away to nothing. Yet they've obviously been here a very long time. Grass has sprouted up between the tracks, and a handful have been removed from the rails entirely. There’s no doubt these seemingly abandoned trains are not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.


Railway Ferry Terminal, Puttgarden, Germany

Built somewhere in Germany in the 1980s, this railway ferry harbour represents the end of the line for a generation of trains. Railway engines destined for the scrapyard would be brought here for a final stop before getting shipped off and broken up, their journey finally at an end. Seen today, the first thing that strikes you about this train graveyard is how shockingly full it is. Crowds of engines line the tracks, their windows kicked out, their sides lost beneath a wall of graffiti and rust. Yet these trains are far from ruins. Inside, they still retain their seats and many of their features. You can almost picture the crowds that used to jam onto them for the morning rush hour; anonymous faces that haven’t left even the faintest trace behind.


Brandenburg Train Graveyard, Germany

The collapse of the Iron Curtain was, among many things, a good time for steam train enthusiasts. Many Communist countries had continued to use old engines right up until 1989, and the newly-capitalist economies were keen to sell their stock off super-cheap. One fanatical collector in Germany bought up dozens of them. The only trouble was, he had nowhere to keep them. Enter a tiny village in rural Brandenburg. In the mid-2000s, the collector managed to find an abandoned train repair shop in this village and moved all his stock over. It’s been there ever since. Today, the train graveyard is opened once a year to the public for two days only. The rest of the time it’s hidden away behind a great fence patrolled by grouchy security men. Which is a shame, because the atmosphere inside is eerily perfect. The site is vast, crammed with so many rusted railway locomotives it’s practically impossible to keep count. Vegetation grows through engines and round wheels, as if nature itself is reclaiming these remarkable trains.


Czestochowa locomotive graveyard, Poland

A large city in the far south of Poland, Czestochowa is home to nearly 250,000 souls –roughly the same as Cardigraveyard is a glorious mix of rusted metal, overgrown tracks and deserted rolling stock. Graffiti-covered wrecks of trains doze aimlessly on old lines, while trees sprout up through the middle of old trucks. In the distance the city looms, grey and modern; a perfect counterpoint to the end-of-the-world vibes found in the depot. There seems to be some confusion online as to whether this is a genuine train graveyard, or just one neglected part of a larger depot stretching off all around. Whatever the truth, there’s no denying Czestochowa’s unique atmosphere.


Charleroi train graveyard, Belgium

Charleroi in Belgium is a city with a grim reputation. If you type it into Google Images, it automatically suggests adding the words "ugliest city" to your search. It’s not hard to see why. The outskirts of Charleroi are a post-industrial nightmare of concrete wastelands, smog and boarded up buildings. Yet it’s in such surroundings that the coolest urbex locations can often be found… such as the local train graveyard. A dark pit on the outer edge of town, the graveyard contains line upon line of rusting old trains, their paint peeling off after prolonged exposure to the wind and rain. The tracks are overgrown and neglected, and the whole place gives off the vibe of somewhere abandoned in a hurry – almost like the Mary Celeste of train graveyards. It may not be beautiful, but the gritty edge of Charleroi disguises some awe-inspiring surprises, not least an abandoned, never-used metro line and an old Airbus A310 airliner bizarrely parked in the middle of a housing estate.


Soviet Space Capsules, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

In the 1980s, a little-known chapter in the space race took place when the Soviet Union attempted to build their own version of Nasa’s Space Shuttle. But despite a successful unmanned orbital test flight the Buran vehicles were soon scrapped amid rising budget cuts and left to rot in hangars. One of the Soviet shuttles was destroyed when its hangar collapsed in 2002, but two other models remain intact. Next to the shuttle hangar, there is another abandoned building housing the test model Energy-M space rocket. Russian photographer Ralph Mirebs is one of the few people to take photographs at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. They reveal a large hangar - once a hub of activity but now left derelict - located near to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is still used to launch Soyuz rockets today.


At the base of the hangar are two unused Buran shuttles, named Burya and OK-MT. Development of the programme began in 1976, with the reusable spacecraft (although the booster was not) capable of performing operations in orbit before returning to Earth. But after the one unmanned spaceflight in 1988, the programme was scrapped following the dissolution of the USSR in 1993. The abandoned hangar is located on a site that belong to Russia's space launch facility, called Baikonur Cosmodrome, where rockets are still launched today. Photos: Ralph Mirebs.


Nezametnaya Cove Submarine graveyard, Kola Peninsula, Russia

High on the foreboding Kola Peninsula in northwest Russia, within the Arctic Circle, lies an incredible Soviet submarine graveyard near the Russian naval base of Olenya Bay. Attached to the closed town of Gadzhiyevo in Murmansk Oblast, the base represents one of the most bleak naval facilities on the planet, home to abandoned Cold War-era hardware that clings to life in the 21st century.

Nezametnaya Cove became a Soviet ship graveyard sometime in the 1970s. Back then the shipyards had a hard time keeping up with the regular and urgent orders, so as a rule, they didn’t even begin to deal with dismantling old submarines. So they resolved the problem of their scrapping very simply: if they weren't sunk as targets during exercises, they were towed to the next cove over where the hull soon just floated on the surface. According to the accounts of veterans, there were still some ships and boats floating there. Afterwards the Navy decided to either recycle the metal or the rust and POL from the hulls contaminated the water. A couple of hulls were dragged ashore by a crane. The crane itself is still extant, 100 meters up the hill.

A truly scary place, Kola Peninsula is almost inaccessible for tourists. It's scary due to the fact that various naval bases and shipyards along the fjord in the Murmansk region, served or still serve as the main port for nuclear submarines and icebreakers, many of which are now abandoned and rusting away. These and the spent nuclear fuels storage, esp. on board rusting support vessels, are potential time bombs. The naval bases and spent fuel storage facilities are naturally out of bounds to tourists. The Russian approach is basically to ignore the existence of those sites and suppress any attempts by nosy foreigners at finding out about them, however they cannot stop you seeing the sites from the sea when sailing out of the harbour. This is currently the only way to catch a glimpse of these strange and scary sites as a non-Russian civilian.
Location: north of the city of Murmansk in the extreme north-west of Russia, close to Norway, on the Kola Bay fjord about 20 miles (30 km) from the Barents Sea – it's Arctic!

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