HFX Blast Furnaces and Steel Works, France
A huge abandoned steel works in France with three blast furnaces and a railway station full of wagons.
Enter your details to receive my newsletter (about twice a year)
The late nineteenth century saw rapid developments in the production of iron. Areas with an abundance of iron ore benefitted from the expanding industry and large plants were constructed. HFX 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The steelworks took the pig iron produced by the blast furnaces and converted into steel.
The mill is where the steel products are finished off and rolled or shaped into their final forms.