It is situated in the Samuño Valley, in the council of Langreo and in the heart of the Asturian mining basin, where its greatest importance is obtained by uniting territory and heritage knowing how to preserve its industrial, cultural and ethnographic legacy. The journey to the history of mining in this Asturian area begins at El Cadavíu station, a building that originally housed the locomotives and transport installations, both of the miners themselves and of the extracted coal, and in which today you can see photos of the old mining wells nearby as well as a suit and tool used by the miners.
Getting on a real mining train, whose wagons are a replica of those still used to transport workers, and travelling the old coal road is a real experience. The train travels about 2 km using the old, but recovered, railway trench that transported the ore from the mines through the narrow valley next to the river Samuño, a tributary of the Nalón, being able to contemplate the tunnel and bocamina La Trechora and the well Samuño. A little more than ten minutes of journey enjoying the landscape, which crosses a lush riverside forest formed by willows, laurels, willows and alders, not to mention the true protagonist of these slopes, the chestnut, which in the higher areas gives way to beeches, to enter the Emilia Socavón, built at the end of the nineteenth century, an old transverse coal transport more than a kilometre long which is the largest underground railway route, open to the public, by a real mine, existing in Spain and that in 1930 becomes the first floor of the San Luis well.
You can experience the sensations the miners had, the humid environment where the water circulates at will, the strange plant formations and of course the coal layers. The whole socavon is protected by beams except some areas where the natural rock holds the support and others where there is solid brick used at the beginning of the history of this mine of more than one hundred years ago, in which you can also see widenings, galleries and utensils of its time of activity. The route ends at the embarkation of the first floor of the San Luis well, 32 m. deep, from here you ascend to the outside through the mining cage that runs through the cane of the well, not without first browsing informative panels of the wells, active and not, of the mining basin of the Nalón valley or the machine of 1930, that used the so called signalist, to warn the machinist that from the outside managed the cages, to which plant of the mine it had to direct them or if they took mineral or miners, depending on this knew the speed that had to print them, also warned of possible accidents.
Once on the surface you can see the original cages of the San Luis well, in which the largest could fit up to four wagons and that by means of pulleys, which were managed from the machine building, joined to the 28 meter high derrick, built in 1930 in Langreo and curiously assembled instead of welding with rivets, went up and down the well. The machinery house is the building that presides over the whole of the San Luis well, on its façade you can see the name of the well, the year of its inauguration, the name of the company that marketed it and the crossed beak and hammer, which is the anagram or international symbol of the mines.
Inside it houses a bridge crane, two immense air compressors, the oldest was purchased in 1936 in the United States, but because of the Civil War and lack of permits did not reach the mine until 1940, an extraction machine of 1929, and the engine and cabin where the engineer operated the cages. The office building was built in 1953 and is the only one of all the facilities that has direct access to the street on the main façade, thus preventing office workers from getting dirty with mud, coal dust ... In this building and through a window that is called pagaduría the envelope of the salary was given to the miners, since to these it was prohibited to enter inside. Other buildings that arouse curiosity are the toilet house and the Lampisteria, although they are independent buildings its purpose is complementary.
Before starting his shift, the miner entered the toilet house and there, apart from the relevant showers with his heating, he had a locker where he could leave his personal effects, street clothes, toiletries... and a kind of plate with hangers that was climbed to the ceiling with a pulley and that when his shift ended was used to leave the clothes to dry for the next use, because the mine came out full of moisture, from here and with his personal number card in hand, they passed to the next building, the lampisteria, where they handed it to the person in charge of taking control of the lamps deposited here, this one gave to each one theirs leaving the card hung in a board and with this at the same time knew which shift and which miners were inside the mine. At the end of the day the same steps were followed but in reverse. An exhibition of four locomotives, and buildings of complementary services such as the first aid kit, the carpentry and the forge complete the visit to this attractive museum.
The toilet house was built in 1925 and since then had hot running water and heating, as a curiosity to say that it was very common that the days that the well was closed the guards would open one of the portholes to let in the children of the valley so that they could shower with hot water. The town of La Nueva, whose hamlet dominates the San Luis well, is genuinely mining, arises at the same time as mining in the valley, around 1845. In La Nueva and the surrounding villages lived up to 3500 people and enjoyed all the services and facilities. Today in La Nueva, which is a flirtatious town, only 300 people live.
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Langreo can be reached from Oviedo via the A-66 motorway, which joins the AS-242 road. To go from Gijón, which is 36 km away, you have to take the AS-1 dual carriageway up to the exit 9 towards AS-17, this same road on its other side communicates the town with San Martín del Rey Aurelio and Pola de Laviana entering the heart of the Redes Natural Park, passing through Ciañu, close to Langreo. We can also do it by bus since it has regular lines of transport of travellers that cover the route Oviedo-Langreo and Gijón-Langreo, besides in train, FEVE and RENFE communicate Langreo by railroad with Asturias and the rest of Spain.
Once in Langreo, at the Riañu roundabout, take the AS-17 towards Campo de Caso until the Ciañu exit. And it is in Ciañu where, at the crossroads near the church, we will find the detour towards La Nueva that will take us to El Cadavíu station. In the station of El Cadavíu we will leave the car in the parking of the own station, turned now in the center of reception of visitors to the Mining Ecomuseum place where the visit begins.
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Una pasada de sitio, impresiona estar dentro de una mina. Totalmente recomendable la visita.
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