RAILROAD MÁLAGA-CÓRDOBA AND 19TH CENTURY INDUSTRIAL MÁLAGA La Garganta Rural Tourist Resort, located outside El Chorro train station, is part of the first railroad line that existed in our province. It makes up an important part of the history of Málaga, by then a very important manufacturing and commercial area, to which the railroad brought new hopes of economic development. “El Avisador de Málaga” newspaper highlighted, in 1860, the importance of this railroad line: “First it was only a desire, but today it was well needed”. Later on, surrounded by other railroad lines, more specifically those based in Alicante and Seville, Málaga, it was heading towards decay. Commerce was fading, and the value of local exportations was about to lose power due to the lack of possibilities to export goods to other domestic markets. In the case that it would have remained 50 years longer in the same state, Málaga would have become a small village filled with great memories. The desolated industrial state of Málaga now contrasts with the production power reached by the city and its su- rroundings in the 19th century, more specifically in the second half of the century, when Málaga was the second industrial center of Spain, surpassed only by Barcelona. Around the mid-19th century, Málaga was a city with 80,000 inhabitants and was very active economically, so- cially and culturally. The traffic of its seaport included over 2,000 Spanish and 400 foreign ships, ahead of all other harbors in Andalusia and placed as one of the most acti- ve harbors in Europe. Málaga produced 72% of the total iron produced in Spain. It offered an important production of thread and fabrics. It possessed its own chemical in- dustry, lithography, leather goods, food products, oil, wine and liquor production. The prosperity of the city came from the sum of several factors, among them the wealthy agriculture of the area. Since 1760, an important raise of the agriculture goods had allowed many farmers to substantially increase their incomes, which led to a considerable improvement of mercantile activity, reactivated after the Spanish Inde- pendence War against France. Another important factor, also related to the economic boom, was the presence in Málaga of a growing and active colony of immigrants, fo- reigners in its majority, who were willing to do business. Therefore, “new” names and families such as Petersen, Loring, Livermore, Croque, Kreisler and Scholtz, joined other Spanish immigrants coming from other regions, es- pecially two families from La Rioja (Heredia and Larios) who counted among its members several leaders of the social and economic boost enjoyed by the city. THE ORIGIN OF THE RAILROAD: MÁLAGA IRON FACTORIES AND CÓRDOBA COAL MINES In 1832, Manuel Agustín Heredia opened La Concepción, an iron foundry powered by charcoal, and in 1836 he in- augurated La Constancia, located next to Málaga harbor, a foundry which started its operations using British char- coal. By then, the coal mines placed in Bélmez (Córdoba) were starting their operations, and Manuel Agustín Heredia, along with his partner Jorge Loring James purchased se- veral mines in the area, to provide minerals for their own industries and also to minimize the competition they could face from other companies that decided to open several foundries next to the coal mines in Córdoba. Both busi- several Latin American countries to other Spanish cities. nessmen also planned to open a coal warehouse in Mála- From an economic standpoint, the project was flawless. ga, with which they could supply all ships and harbors in Unfortunately, it suffered the economic dismay that hit the Mediterranean. Málaga by the late 19th century. The railroad line Cordo- ba-Málaga needed more time to be built than expected. Therefore, a new railroad line between Bélmez and Málaga It was opened in 1865, although the branch to Bélmez became a necessity. Thanks to that, the train would take was delayed until 1873 and by that time it was too late to fuel to factories, transport seeds and cheaper fertilizer to overcome the difficulties to find affordable fuel needed by be used in agriculture, and at the same time it transported foundries in Málaga. The former splendor obtained by the the products manufactured both in Málaga itself as those local manufacturing industry was about to end with the that arrived to its harbor from other countries, mainly from century. CONSTRUCTING THE RAILROAD Sociedad del Ferrocarril de Málaga a Córdoba (Society for the Construction of the Railroad from Málaga to Cór- doba) was the organization which decided and planned its construction and exploitation. That society was led by Jorge Enrique Loring, Martín Larios and Tomás Heredia. According to an official contract granted on June 30, 1860, a company owned by Vitali, Picard and Co. was appointed to develop the works. The terrain on which the rails would have to be tended was very irregular, and this called for extensive enginee- ring work of, especially around El Chorro area. Seventeen tunnels had to be built, as well as eight viaducts and eighteen bridges. Aside from the difficulties brought by orography it- self, the railroad had to face many problems and de- lays caused by the expropriation of land and by the economic da- mages faced by many people. The Álora Historic Ar- chive holds many documents that support these and other curious facts related to the rail- road construction. However, the line between Málaga and Cártama be- came operatio- nal in July 1861. Three years later, the train added the village of Álora to its service. On Au- gust 15, 1865, Má- laga and Córdoba were united by the railroad, after a 20 year dream of this project. When the railroad service started, the part between El Chorro train station and Málaga was covered by two daily round trips, one in the morning and another one in the evening. Between Álora and Málaga, the trip was 59 minutes, not much longer than today, especially keeping in mind that the trains, by law, were not allowed to go faster than 30 km/hour in the dangerous areas and not faster than 40 km/ hour in safe areas. The exact construction date for this imposing building which holds part of La Garganta Rural Tourist Resort is unknown. Located at El Chorro Railway Station in the vi- The visit from Spanish Queen Isabel II in September 1862 llage of Álora, this is a fine example of industrial architec- to the Fair of Agriculture Goods and Industrial Technologies ture. In his book “El patrimonio industrial de Álora” (Álora’s (the most important of all fairs in Málaga during th 19th cen- Industrial Patrimony), author Pablo Pérez Gómez tells us tury) contributed to the official opening of the railroad’s first how it has not been possible to locate the construction track by the queen. She also placed the first stone of the date of this factory other than using verbal references. future Civil Hospital, in whose construction Jorge Enrique These suggest 1914 as the most probable date for the Loring Oyarzábal also participated. His assistance in public conclusion of the construction. The developer of the whole health issues during the epidemic of cholera in 1854 and project would be an unidentified german architect. 1855 brought him the title of Marquis of Loring. The main building, where wheat was milled, is a 3-story The city finally recovered from the epidemic of cholera, but plant, originally surrounded by other sections where the its local economy didn’t. The railroad was not subsidized by office, the bakery, the scale and the silos keep the grain national government, and its arrival came too late to help the and several homes for the laborers. local industry. However, it did help in the transport of fertili- zers, and it contributed to the improvement of the agriculture According to the research developed by Pablo Pérez Gó- at the plains of Guadalhorce river, which were reconverted to mez, the factory probably used three motors, and it had an irrigation when the epidemic phylloxera in 1879 definitively innovative channeling system which extended throughout ended with most of the vineyards in the province. the plant that was used to transport wheat, flour and bran. As innovative and interesting was the drainpipes system, SANTA MARIANA FLOUR which converged in the center of the plant, underground, and from there they were transported to the river. FACTORY The dams Geographically, the area surrounding the dams of Guadalhor- ce and Guadalteba rivers is formed by seven municipal areas in which territory are located the following reservoirs: Carratra- ca, Ardales, Teba, Campillos, Álora, Valle de Abdalajís and An- tequera, although the reservoirs’ boundaries are located in the municipal areas of four villages: Ardales, Campillos, Antequera and Teba. All this area is known as El Chorro, where there are three reservoirs, Chorro (also called Count of Guadalhorce, built at the confluence of rivers Turón and Guadalhorce), Gua- dalhorce-Guadalteba and a small reservoir called Gaitanejo. The origin of Poblado del Pantano (Reservoir Village) takes us back in time to a period when the reservoirs’ workers needed a lodging area not too far away from Presa del Conde (Count’s Reservoir). The same name, El Chorro, also defines a neighborhood in the Álora municipal area, exactly where La Garganta Rural Tourist Resort in now placed, in a plain located outside the eponymous railway station. In the lowest part of the neighborhood, we find the Tajo de la Encantada power station. Just in front of it, in an elevation on a flat hill in Villaverde, is a reservoir that receives the water used in the production of the electric power. Of all the reservoirs, the first one that was built was El Chorro reservoir, later known as Reservoir of the Count of Guadal- horce, built in 1921, and subject of a specific area in this text. It was developed due to the needs of the inhabitants of this area to receive electricity in their homes and to regularize the irrigation of all the area surrounding Guadalhorce Ri- ver, whose agriculture greatly improved thanks to the reservoir’s construction. Soon after (between 1924 and 1927), The Hidroelectric Company constructed the reservoir of Gaitanejo, down the river in El Chorro reservoir. Guadalhorce-Guadalteba Dam sity. Of those, 8.3 were included inside four tunnels. These The increasing needs of water supply to downtown Málaga additional tracks became operational in January 1972. and the approval in 1961 of the Irrigation Plan for Guadal- horce River Area took the planning of several studies about It was also necessary to construct three more detours to the most adequate way to improve Guadalhorce river’s find a solution to the segments of the road which were also water resources and those from its tributary rivers. These flooded by the reservoir (two local and one regional), with a studies determined the convenience of the construction of total extension of 28 kilometers. a new reservoir, formed by the confluence of Guadalhorce and Guadalteba rivers. Due to several technical difficulties, Undoubtedly, the most painful price that came with the re- two twin reservoirs were constructed, one in each river, lo- servoirs was paid by the inhabitants of Peñarrubia village cated only a few meters away from their confluence. When and by those living in the neighborhood surrounding the Go- the water level is high, both reservoirs form only one dam. bantes train station, whose homes were flooded by the re- servoir. Santa Rosalía neighborhood in Málaga became the The first excavations started in 1966, and with them came preferred destination for many of the neighbors who were the first problems for the reservoir’s construction, due to the moved out of their homes because of the water from the state of the soil of the originally planned location. After those reservoirs. However, some of those neighbors decided to firsts plans were modified, as it was explained in the previous move to Catalonia. paragraph, came the works that made those two reservoirs a reality (Guadalteba’s river reservoir was finished in 1971 and Since then, every five years a pilgrimage from Santa Rosa- Guadalhorce river’s reservoir was ready in 1973). lía takes place to honor the local patron saint, Virgin of the Rosary (Vírgen del Rosario), whose image was taken by The construction of these reservoirs brought the flood of se- those immigrants in their journey. A number of buses leave veral areas in the railroad line. For this reason, re-adjusting from Barcelona to Santa Rosalía to celebrate this festivity. the railroad line in 12.6 kilometers longer became a neces- For many, this is a not-to be-missed celebration.
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