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Report - - The Coal Valley (Power plant, mines & more) - Spain (January 2022) | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The Coal Valley (Power plant, mines & more) - Spain (January 2022)


RustyJohn

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
PART 1: Intro & Power Plant

Me and my exploring partner were thinking something along the lines of ''Shit man, if we wanna see some epic places we're gonna have to travel to France or Belgium or something...''
but as the saying goes: as above so below! It seems that Catalonia had its own little coal-mining empire, now laying forgotten in some dark valley near the Pyrenees.
There's so much to see that I could write 3 different reports but I want to show the place as a whole because it was all part of one huge infrastructure, here's a drawing of the valley in its golden age:

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So it worked more or less like that: There were 3 mines in the mountain, with the miners' housing and workshops near, coal was then carried down the valley through a tramway, arriving at the power station. Mining had started in the area around the 18th century but it wasn't until 1893 that a rich industrialist bought all of the mining rights and planned this big mining operation. For you UK people, it's worth noting that this guy, although Spanish, had been born and raised in England, where he studied engineering and visited some mines. In 1908 the King of Spain visited the region and was so impressed by the coal-mining complex that he awarded the title of Count to the industrialist. The last part of the infrastructure to be built was the power plant, active from 1929 until 1970.

About the explore... there's so much we wanted to tick off of our list, and this location provided it all: infiltration of a semi-live site, and some 'serious' mine exploring (more on that later...)
So our day started down the valley, after finding a path that seemed to lead to the power station we saw some 'hidden' 4x4s in the woods and thought it was security and our morning was screwed, but after approaching the cars scared as hell we realized it was just a bunch of old hunters...so in we go!

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That's the old power station, behind it you can see the little palace of the Count and on the top left, the mining colonies where the mines are. We actually didn't explore the old power station because we were about to become very busy with...THIS!

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Surprise! This massive power plant also ran on coal and was built in 1970 to replace the old one, in 2011 it closed because it was past its scheduled working hours. After being mothballed for a few years, dismantling started in 2020 but is now stopped because the government found out that the contractors were taking out more iron than they were declaring on paper or some dodgy business...
We didn't know if it was gonna be doable but we just walked right in...! It's quite noticeable how the dismantling stopped mid-process, some building are already stripped bare while others still have all the machinery inside, here's some shots we took roaming around:

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The effort they made trying to secure access to the cooling tower was pathetic: at the base of the stairs there was a knee-high fence...with a padlock! :') Then a heavy steel door which opened with no issues.

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I know some of you despise people shots in a report, but damn, let me rejoice in the fact that I'm in the middle of a fuckin' coal plant cooling tower!

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Disclaimer: I've edited some of the pics in the report, only in cases where lighting was really shitty, at least like this you can see something...

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After getting inside the cooling tower, which was our main goal for the power plant in case we had to do a quick get-in-get-out, we relaxed as we realized there was absolutely nobody on the site.

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I won't bother you too much with interior pics, the offices were huge but they all mostly looked like this: a mixture of original paperwork, demonstration banners and stuff from the closing days, and some more paperwork and stuff from the dismantling crew. Even though it was messy, everything was pretty intact!

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What's left of the control panel for the power plant, shame this one wasn't intact!

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The basement was something else, it was literally untouched, with god-knows-what chemical residues lurking inside this tanks.

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Hey, an intact control panel! We'll have to do with that!

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The generator hall, the dismantling crew had done quite a lot of work here, with one of the generators gone and the other in a sorry state:

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Next to the hall were the 'executive' offices, with nice wooden panels and doors. Upon exploring the rooms, and to put an end to the power plant exploration, we found this, quite funny what they tried to do:

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With our first location of the day done, we headed onto the next one, following in part 2!

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RustyJohn

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Part 2: The Count's Mansion & Mining Town

After being in the power plant, going to this house seemed totally irrelevant, but it was the mansion that the rich guy that built everything had himself made when the King made him Count of The Valley (sounds like a fairytale but it went like this!) Anyway, the place was super trashed with awful graffiti so I'll let the pics do the talking, there were some nice features though like original frescoes and an old boiler:

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That's the only pic of the balcony I got... The new power plant wasn't there when the Count lived, but the old one was... I don't think I would've liked to have this awesome mansion and wake up every morning to the smell of coal dust...to each his own! I guess he felt so empowered watching over his empire, just like me in the pic, only with less glamour...

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That's the mining colony. In every one of the levels there's an abandoned mine, but the houses on the top have been remodeled and have been turned into vacation homes.
The first level lays derelict, mainly because it's where the mining company had the offices and workshops and the main mine, which we're gonna have to talk a lot about later...
For now, the housing of the miners:

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I quite liked this detail, you could see the layers they used to put the wallpaper. The newspaper was dated 1971.

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Here's an oven, I could do a whole report just on the workshops because they were quite a nice space, here are some shots:

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This is the main workshop where all the machinery from the mines would be repaired. I won't cover the name as someone with a little initiative will find out the locations in this whole report quite easily, but I'm also not being as specific with the history as I'd like to be (place is really amazing and delicate, I don't know if it's gonna get razed or it's gonna last like this forever, honestly don't know...

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As the buildings are built in a steep mountain, this is how they linked the different levels.

Having explored the buildings, there was one thing for us left to do... getting inside some mines, coming in part 3!
 
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RustyJohn

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Looks quite a nice wander. It looks like vandals have been at it in some parts. But a lot looks quite untouched.
The graffitis were dated 2020-21, the place is scheduled to be re-opened as a waste incinerator in 2023, so for us it was now or never...!
 

Mikeymutt

28DL Regular User
Regular User
The graffitis were dated 2020-21, the place is scheduled to be re-opened as a waste incinerator in 2023, so for us it was now or never...!
It does look fresh. Just seen the new pics and adds more to it.
 

RustyJohn

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Part 3: The Mines

Having explored a couple mines before (see my profile for reports on them), we wanted to take it a step further, so we bought 'water boots' (wellies?waders?), and some masks... having done our research, we know coal mines can be nasty places... we still haven't invested in a gas/oxygen detector, but we did invest in some masks... we knew there were 2 mines we could get into, one supposed to be fairly safe, the other one literally a death trap...

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Here's how the entrace looked in the 40's.

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Here's how it looks nowadays, semi-covered by the new road. See the 'trash' scattered around? It's actually flowers...

This mine goes over 1 km under the surface, and in 1975, while working 800 metres deep, 4 kms away from the entrance, there was a gas explosion that killed 30 miners.
As the mine was so huge, they just sealed off the affected part and working continued until 1991, but it was a mine known for accidents and miners usually preferred to work on some of the mines in the upper levels of the mountain, which were smaller and safer. Not wanting to risk our luck/health, our plan was to get inside and keep going until we felt it was right.

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These surely didn't get through the tiny hole we crawled in. While researching for this mine, I found some pics of explorers that seemed to venture quite far.
This seems like a clever way to get through the first 1'5 kms of main gallery before the actual mine starts.

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Actually this serves a purpose: calling out mine experts, is this 3M mask good for mines?

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A water pump not serving its purpose.

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After 350-400 metres inside the air was really hot, I don't know if it was paranoia or the air was really getting bad but we felt it was time to turn around...
See this second tunnel? We think it leads here:

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Possible link, this is already outside... we definitely wanna go back to this mine with a proper gas meter, lots to see...! On to the next one:

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That's the mine on the second level of the mountain, the main entrace was well sealed but walking around the mountain for some time we found a hole...

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The gallery went on for some time, at some point it became more modern, arriving at a crossing:

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This part of the mine had been used until fairly recently by the government as lab to make studies on mushrooms.

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After getting out of the last mine, this was the view we had, and having conquered The Coal Valley, we packed it up and started the long drive home.

Until next time, and really thank you if you've read and enjoyed all the 3 parts of the report!
 

tumbles

Trip Hopping
Regular User
Thats awesome stuff, love it. I remember once driving up from Barcelona to Andorra (nearly 20 years ago!) and surprised to see the scars of the civil war still apparent in places.. but then it was only 60-70 years since it happened at the time!
 

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