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.

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-

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.
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

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

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,

                                                                    which converged in the center of the plant, underground,
                                                                    and from there they were transported to the river.
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

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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