Northern Spain is the second programme in the Earthmoving Trails DVD series and roughly follows one of the routes of the popular pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. But our journey is in reverse, we start in the north-west of Spain in the heart of the country’s slate mining industry. The mountains in the remote Ourense region contain many large slate mines, one of which is home to some new and some not so new Hitachi trucks, excavators and wheeled loaders.
We follow the slate extraction process down to the valley to see how blocks are transformed into roofing tiles, the final stage of which is done by hand. From here, we travel north-east of Ponferrada to the mountain tops above the coal mining town of Fabero to see the EX3600 and EX5500, the largest Hitachi excavators in Europe. We also look at the changing fortunes of Spain’s coal industry, which has seen many of the mine’s big earthmovers made redundant during recent years. We continue east to another big and stunningly-attractive coal mine not far from the city of León, where machines owned by Spanish contractor Transportes Peal do all the work. Excavator highlights here include a Cat 390D and Liebherr R984, plus there are some great working shots of a 100-tonne Cat 992D wheel loader.
We then leave the mountains and travel further east towards Madrid and Benavente to tour one of Europe’s largest earthmoving machinery breakers yards. Containing many thousands of different machines, some of the larger excavators include a couple of O&K RH-30s. Journey’s end is midway between Zaragoza and Barcelona and the massive coal mine near the village of Ariño. This mine still uses a number of classic 200-tonne class Demag H185 and Liebherr R994 diggers, and we also have footage of a recently retired 450-tonne R995 – the largest tracked Liebherr excavator ever to work on land in Europe.
As well as these old timers, the programme also includes several of the mine’s classic mining trucks. These include the 200-tonne capacity T252, the biggest Liebherr hauler ever to come to Europe, and what is believed to be the last surviving 120-tonne capacity Komatsu HD 1200M in Europe. This same mine recently spent a fortune on four new 300-tonne Liebherr R9350 excavators and an equally–new fleet of 136-tonne capacity Cat 785C trucks, all of which are well covered.
Northern Spain is written and presented by Steven Vale who is a regular contributor to Earthmovers Magazine and Classic Plant & Machinery, and has helped make many earthmoving machinery DVDs. The programme is directed, edited and narrated by Jonathan Theobald who has made a wide range of documentaries on agricultural and earthmoving machines working throughout the world.
All the Earthmoving Trails DVDs are multi-region and can be played in any of the world’s four DVD regions. They also use the PAL television system.