The Cargadero at El Hornillo

For a fuller description of the construction and operation of El Hornillo, see my book. This page contains extra pictures past and present of the pier and storage area (called together El Cargadero) and an explanation of the operation of El Hornillo.

The diagram below shows how the cargadero works. Each piece of text is independent, so there is no start point.Apart from the central area on the pier, this is pretty much how El Hornillo started. The central rail was added because of the difficulties in removing empty wagons.

Schematic of El Hornillo

This next diagram shows the final layout of the cargadero. It shows an additional storage area and loading line, plus two more tunnels, one of which was blind and used for wagon storage.

Layout of El Hornillo

Building the pier

Constructing the pier. Note the temporary line at sea level that appears to go up a slope to the mainland.

The pier from a ship

View of the pier from a ship. Engines and carriages can be seen on the pier but it is not clear if the ship is arriving or departing. There is a heap of something on the deck of the ship.

Loading chute

View under the pier showing a loading arm extended.

Traversing Rail

The traversing rail in operation at the end of the pier The flatbed can be seen as can details of the "Yanqui" hopper wagon. Is the cylinder at the back part of the braking system?.


Unloading a wagon into the hopper. Note that the next wagon lines up with the next unloading chute.I guess that the flagman is there to warn that unloading is taking place. The "LB" "Lorca Baza" insignia shows well on the side of the trucks. The engine appears to be a GSSR "Mogul" 2-6-0.

View towards Aguilas

View of the line back towards Aguilas today. In the centre of the picture as the line curves right, is a bridge (hidden) whose days are numbered I think. The three arches of Aguilas workshops can just be seen, to the right, just past the block of flats.

El Hornillo pier today

This is a view of the pier today


The pier now. The rails are still there but access is unfortunately not allowed.


The Office block, recently used for a fishing concern but now boarded up and covered in graffiti.


Towards the hoppers from the pier showing the three tunnel exits.

Tunnel Entrance

View of the lines leading to the two through tunnels today. At the entrance to the left-hand tunnel the remains of a battered signal can be seen. Development is taking place all round so how much longer this will remain is doubtful.


Close-up of the two tunnels.

End of line

The end of the right hand hopper loading lines. The buffers have gone leaving a big drop beyond.The pier can just be seen beyond the line.

Building the Hopper

Construction of the hopper. This was obviously going on at the same time as construction of the pier as the crane for this shows up in the background. On the right-hand side the hardcore has not yet been completed, nor have the loading chutes. The tunnel through has been built.

Inside the hopper

Inside the hopper today. Note:- The brick arch of the tunnel below, the remains of the wooden control towers for loading under the tunnel, the regular hopper loading chutes on both sides. The chutes were exactly spaced to line up with the wagons along the top. The same spacing appeared in the tunnels.


View down one of the hopper chutes.


One of the control towers for controlling the loading of ore into wagons in the tunnel.

In 2008, Peter Roff, another GSSR enthusiast, went to El Hornillo to discover that the authorities have constructed a viewing pathway to the loading bay. Here are some pictures that he took of the path.

Hornillo_Path6 Hornillo_Path1 Hornillo_Path2

Hornillo_Path3 Hornillo_Path4 Hornillo_Path5

In 2013, Jim Whitfield went to El Hornillo. Here are some of the pictures that he took giving an update of the pier. The first picture shows Jim by the engine at Aguilas harbour.

JW00 JW01 JW02

JW03 JW04 JW05

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