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Museu Hidroelèctric de Capdella

Room: Emili Riu. Section: Communication

<p>Materials arrived along the new road and from there were taken to the lakes where the damming and tunnelling work was being done by goods trucks hauled up considerable heights by funiculars.</p>

Materials arrived along the new road and from there were taken to the lakes where the damming and tunnelling work was being done by goods trucks hauled up considerable heights by funiculars.

At peak moments the works in Capdella employed up to 4,000 workers, both on the damming and tunnelling operations and in the transportation of the thousands of tons of materials and machinery the power station needed.

Before the funicular for lifting loads up to the level of the lakes could be installed, a 40 kilometre-long road had to be built from the south of the region to the building site. This road was made by the workers with the hand tools that were available then – picks, shovels, spades and wheelbarrows – in only 90 days.

Four principal means of transport were used in the course of these works. The first was the Renard train with its six-wheeled boxcars for carrying the heaviest loads along the road. This kind of vehicle was the only sort that could negotiate the unpaved roads. One of its notable characteristics was that the power from its Daimler engine was conveyed to the flatcars by means of a transmission with a Cardan axis, or universal joint, which allowed it to pull a number of flatcars at a time along the same trajectory.

The second means of transport was the funicular, which ascended a gradient of more than 80% on a toothed track that was connected to the carrilet, or continuous belt, which drove the machine.

The third means of transport, a narrow-gauge train, had a five-kilometre journey from the base of operations to the first lake.

And the fourth clever stratagem for getting materials to where they were needed in this high mountain landscape was to lay tracks for wagons over the ice that formed on the lakes in winter and to push the wagons over it like sleighs. In summer materials could be swung over the same lakes by means of an aerial cable.

OBJECTS

<p>A &rsquo;driving wheel&rsquo; from the funicular. Two iron spikes and a wooden handle were used to direct the funicular.</p>
A ’driving wheel’ from the fun...
A ’driving wheel’ from the funicular
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