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Los Picos de Europa

THE CABLE CAR OF FUENTE DÉ, ANTECHAMBER OF PICOS DE EUROPA

In the 30s, the attraction for Picos de Europa started to give way to the great achievements which would take place later letting people know about this wonderful mountainous massif. Already in 1903 the mining company "Vieja Montañesa" installed a cable from Lloroza down to Fuente Dé to transport down the mineral containers extracted from the mines.

The engineer Jose Antonio Odriozola, born in Liébana, was the great impeller of the cable car in Fuente Dé, maximum attraction for tourists nowadays coming to explore Picos de Europa. He started his project and did the first works, proposing, not only the cable car, but also some ski-lifts to Aliva and the Padiorna peak, a road from Pido to Fuente Dé, rural electricity in the whole valley, fish restocking, and sport infrastructures. The Province Administration gave free way to the project and its president, Don Pedro Escalante, ordered the purchase of the land, agreeing to the cable car construction on the 20th of November 1962.

In 1963, the approval to build the Parador (Nacional) in Fuente Dé starts in the ministry cabinet, and on April that same year rural electrification in the valley of Camaleño is approved as well as the road from Espinama to Fuente Dé.

The projected cable car had a two-cable system without intermediate support posts, with the bottom station at an altitude of 1,070.25 m and the upper station at 1,823.75 m, altitude which can be covered in a single vain with a cable 1,419 m long. This is in Fuente Dé, near the source of the river Deva. The upper station is next to the balcony called El Cable, from where there´s a magnificent view of the whole valley of Camaleño and the Cantabrian mountain ranges.

It was at the end of June 1966 when the first tests on the cable car were made, with cabins. We know that the first stowaway passenger was Nicolás Soto, an employee of the Cantabrian Administration, on the 12th of July. The cable car started working for the general public on the 21st of August, 1966. The first days it transported an average of 300 people per day, and it was calculated that it could make up to 140 journeys.

On the first year 48,000 passengers went up in it, with a capacity of 7 passengers per cabin. In 1974 this capacity was increased to fourteen. After this increase, the technical characteristics of the cable car in Fuente Dé were the following: The altitude of the bottom station was 1,094 m and the upper station 1,847 m; the horizontal flat length was 1,202.50 m and the real length 1,419.10 m. The altitude difference gap was exactly 753.50 m and the separation between the cables 7.50 m, with two cabins and a passenger capacity (including the driver) of 15 people. The speed of the traction cable with electrical engine was 8 m/s and a spare diesel engine of 2.50 m/s. The weight of the empty cabin with the driver 940 kg and with a full cabin 2,140 kg. The capacity per hour is now estimated in 210 people, and the aid cabin has room for 5 people, with a speed of the aid cable of 2 m. There still are 2 stations (bottom and top) and the power of the main electrical engine and the spare diesel one are 140 CV and 41 CV respectively.

In 1986, when the cable car was 20 years old, with more than 3,000,000 transported passengers, it had aproblem of extremely long waiting queues, which ended up in a study carried out by the Regional Administration to increase the cabin´s capacity and assure a greater service fluency. On the 21st of July 1990 it was again inaugurated, with a current capacity 28 people per cabin, and 500 passengers per hour, after also increasing the cabin speed up to 10 m/s, and a cable length of 1,640 m. The cable car is also provided with a security system with 3 breaks: Service, security, and emergency.

Picos de Europa:
Panorámic | Eastern massif | Central massif | Western massif | The rivers | Routes | Fuente Dé

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