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The Arenberg mine


The Arenberg mine

When you say Wallers-Arenberg, you immediately think of the infamous cobblestone section in Paris-Roubaix bicycle road race, but Arenberg is also the name of the coal mine site located on the forest's edge.

The industrial mine in Nord-Pas-de-Calais has been extracting black gold from the northern French coal vein since 1903.

After the Second World War, 1954, two new pits were excavated, and a coal washing plant was added: the coal was extracted from the underground via an ultra-modern, 60-meter high steel headframe. The wheels at the top have a diameter of 7.5 meters.

Old railway equipment from the mine is still rusting, including an old diesel locomotive for transporting mine wagons from the Decauville brand, a machine manufacturer of narrow-gauge locomotives, among other things. The locomotive is equipped with a Baudouin engine.

The room where the miners queued up to descend into the mine in the elevator cages. That happened for the last time in the late 1980s.

The oil crisis gave the mine a new start in the 1970s, but exploitation ended in March 1989: after extracting 31 million tons of coal, the Arenberg mine closed its doors.

Just not demolished

Initially, the intention was to raze the entire mine to the ground, but thanks to the film adaptation of the book "Germinal" in the coal mine, it passed through the eye of the needle, according to an article by La Voix du Nord.

Together with 108 other coal mines and memories, Arenberg forms the "Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin" on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

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