Florange Blast Furnaces (HFX) and Steel Works, France

HFX Blast Furnaces and Steelworks, France

A huge abandoned steel works in France with three blast furnaces and a railway station full of wagons.

Visited June 2017  France Florange, Moselle France Closed, abandoned

The late nineteenth century saw rapid developments in the production of iron. Areas with an abundance of iron ore benefited from the expanding industry and large plants were constructed. The blast furnaces and steel works in Florange is one such example, with massive expansion taking place in the early twentieth century. The first blast furnaces were built at the site in 1906, and later a huge steel works to convert the iron into steel.

In total, six blast furnaces were built at the site. During the 1970s three of the six blast furnaces were refurbished, and their capacities increased. The other three furnaces were decommissioned and later demolished.

Workers at the blast furnaces, pictured in 1952
Workers at the blast furnaces, pictured in 1952

One of the oldest remaining parts of the site is a huge hall with 1919 emblazoned above the main entrance, which now contains a set of turbo-blowers for injecting high-pressure air into the blast furnaces. The hall would have originally contained an array of classic industrial machinery including mechanical blowers and alternators similar to those found at Power Plant X in Luxembourg. Electricity generation on the site ceased in the 1950s when Richemont Power Station took over, running on the blast furnace gasses produced by a number of steel works in the region.

Production of iron and steel ceased in 2012 when the last remaining blast furnaces at the site were mothballed. It was announced the two blast furnaces would be maintained so they could be restarted if market conditions improved in the future, but were permanently shut down the following year.

The blast furnaces and steelworks while they were in use
The blast furnaces and steelworks while they were in use

Now, the steel works and blast furnaces lay dormant, slowly rusting and being reclaimed by nature. Wagons stand still in the rail yard surrounded by overgrowth, the steel works silent and the furnaces lifeless.

Blast Furnaces

Florange Steelworks, France - Blast Furnaces viewed from the rail yard
Florange Steelworks, France – Blast Furnaces viewed from the rail yard
Florange Steelworks, France - Coal wagons lined up below the blast furnaces
Florange Steelworks, France – Coal wagons lined up below the blast furnaces
Florange Steelworks, France - Base of one of the blast furnaces
Florange Steelworks, France – Base of one of the blast furnaces
Florange Steelworks, France - Inside a blast furnace building
Florange Steelworks, France – Inside a blast furnace building
Florange Steelworks, France - Inside another blast furnace building
Florange Steelworks, France – Inside another blast furnace building
Florange Steelworks, France - Spiral staircase
Florange Steelworks, France – Spiral staircase
Florange Steelworks, France - Water tower
Florange Steelworks, France – Water tower
 
Florange Steelworks, France - View up a blast furnace
Florange Steelworks, France – View up a blast furnace
Florange Steelworks, France - Wagons under a blast furnace
Florange Steelworks, France – Wagons under a blast furnace
Florange Steelworks, France - Blast furnace control room
Florange Steelworks, France – Blast furnace control room

Turbo Blower House and Workshops

The blower house is where the turbo-fans are located. They were responsible for blowing the huge amounts of air required by the blast furnaces. This cavernous building would have once housed a set of classic engines for blowing the air, along with a power plant, all of which was removed in the 1970s.

Florange Steelworks, France - Turbo-fan sets 1 and 2
Florange Steelworks, France – Turbo-fan sets 1 and 2
Florange Steelworks, France - There was one blower set for each blast furnace
Florange Steelworks, France – There was one blower set for each blast furnace
Florange Steelworks, France - Side view of the huge blowers
Florange Steelworks, France – Side view of the huge blowers
Florange Steelworks, France - Turbo-fan 3
Florange Steelworks, France – Turbo-fan 3
Florange Steelworks, France - The green motor for fan 3
Florange Steelworks, France – The green motor for fan 3
Florange Steelworks, France - Historic control panel from when older machines were used
Florange Steelworks, France – Historic control panel from when older machines were used
Florange Steelworks, France - The machines this panel controlled were removed a long time ago
Florange Steelworks, France – The machines this panel controlled were removed a long time ago
Florange Steelworks, France - Newer control room for the turbo-blowers
Florange Steelworks, France – Newer control room for the turbo-blowers
Florange Steelworks, France - Turbo-blower control room
Florange Steelworks, France – Turbo-blower control room
Florange Steelworks, France - Workshop area
Florange Steelworks, France – Workshop area
Florange Steelworks, France - Workshops
Florange Steelworks, France – Workshops
 
Florange Steelworks, France - Locker room
Florange Steelworks, France – Locker room

Railway and Coal / Iron Ore Delivery Area

The steelworks had its own station for the delivery of coal and raw materials such as iron ore which would be emptied into hoppers below. A lot of wagons are parked on the tracks.

Florange Steelworks, France - Track over the coal and iron ore hoppers with blast furnaces behind
Florange Steelworks, France – Track over the coal and iron ore hoppers with blast furnaces behind
Florange Steelworks, France - Wagons parked in the delivery station
Florange Steelworks, France – Wagons parked in the delivery station
Florange Steelworks, France - Nature is starting to reclaim the tracks
Florange Steelworks, France – Nature is starting to reclaim the tracks
Florange Steelworks, France - Blast furnace and wagons
Florange Steelworks, France – Blast furnace and wagons
Florange Steelworks, France - Trains would drop their content directly into the hoppers below
Florange Steelworks, France – Trains would drop their content directly into the hoppers below

Steel works

The steelworks took the pig iron produced by the blast furnaces and converted into steel.

Historic photos of the steelworks, pictured in 1952
Historic photos of the steelworks, pictured in 1952
Florange Steelworks, France - Sign in the steelworks
Florange Steelworks, France – Sign in the steelworks
Florange Steelworks, France - View along one of the many long sections
Florange Steelworks, France – View along one of the many long sections
Florange Steelworks, France - View down the steelworks
Florange Steelworks, France – View down the steelworks
 
Florange Steelworks, France - View in the opposite direction
Florange Steelworks, France – View in the opposite direction
Florange Steelworks, France - Work area between machinery
Florange Steelworks, France – Work area between machinery
Florange Steelworks, France - Ladles lined up in the ladle bay
Florange Steelworks, France – Ladles lined up in the ladle bay
Florange Steelworks, France - One of the ladles tipped up
Florange Steelworks, France – One of the ladles tipped up
Florange Steelworks, France - Wider view of the ladles
Florange Steelworks, France – Wider view of the ladles
Florange Steelworks, France - One of the work bays
Florange Steelworks, France – One of the work bays
 
Florange Steelworks, France - Another work bay
Florange Steelworks, France – Another work bay
Florange Steelworks, France - Crane lowered in one of the bays
Florange Steelworks, France – Crane lowered in one of the bays
Florange Steelworks, France - Furnaces for melting iron and scrap
Florange Steelworks, France – Furnaces for melting iron and scrap
Florange Steelworks, France - Track for moving ladles
Florange Steelworks, France – Track for moving ladles
Florange Steelworks, France - Electromagnetic lifting gear
Florange Steelworks, France – Electromagnetic lifting gear

Rolling Mill

The mill is where the steel products are finished off and rolled or shaped into their final forms.

Florange Steelworks, France - Plant in the rolling mill
Florange Steelworks, France – Plant in the rolling mill
Florange Steelworks, France - Plant in the rolling mill
Florange Steelworks, France – Plant in the rolling mill
Florange Steelworks, France - Lifting gear in the mill
Florange Steelworks, France – Lifting gear in the mill
Florange Steelworks, France - Crane hooks in the mill
Florange Steelworks, France – Crane hooks in the mill
Florange Steelworks, France - Tracks leading to mill equipment
Florange Steelworks, France – Tracks leading to mill equipment
Author: Andy Kay | Facebook | Flickr | Instagram

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