Stones hovering above the countryside – Part 1

pohled na rezavou lanovku svážející kamení v pozadí jsou hory a kopce zarostlé lesy pod nimi jsou pole.

…a.k.a. The Freight Cableway Černý Důl (Black Mine) – Kunčice and Labem KVK. The somewhat poetic title of this article does not mean that we will be talking about the dispersion of rocks during blasting works or any possibility of non-working Earth gravity. 

We will be talking about technological devices that were commonly used in the past for transportation of lump materials, and that have completely disappeared into oblivion – freight cableways. If we stay in the past a little bit longer, even the inhabitants of Ostrava in the first half of the twentieth century were able to count up to ten freight cableways when they looked up. It was also used to transport calcite from Solvay mines to the transit shed of the state railway. The list of disappeared freight cableways goes on and on. But there is one cableway that is still functional.    

Linear construction

The view on the freight cableway which goes through the countryside between Černý Důl and Kunčice nad Labem is quite common to people that live between Vrchlabí and Trutnov. On the other hand, it is quite uncommon for people that travel on the road in Dolní Lánov or on the road from Lánov and Čistá for the first time. Many of them ask themselves the question of what must have been the purpose of this linear construction. 

Freight cableway which is run by the organisation Krkonošské Vápenky Kunčice, a.s. (further on as KVK) is used for transportation of calcite from Černý Důl (picture 1) to the factory in Kunčice. Its length of 8.350,0 metres makes it the longest freight cableway in Middle Europe (picture 2). 

History of creation of the cableway

In the twentieth century, at the beginning of the 50s, there was a higher need to increase the production of cement, lime and calcite products. The production factories were supposed to be placed near the deposits of calcite. The production capacity of factories and their placement were supposed to enable the supplying of the surrounding area in the extent of the former regions by calcite products. Several local factories were producing lime and calcite products in the area of Podkrkonoší at the time. One of them was the factory in Černý Důl. On the basis of the conducted geological survey of the deposits of calcite in Černý Důl, it was decided that the deposit that had been mined since the end of the 18th century is, thanks to its size and quality, suitable for supplying of the processing factory which would comply with the demand for the capacity of lime production, calcium hydroxide, and ground limestone. The processing factory was finally placed in Kunčice nad Labem. There was the possibility to connect the important railway hub in Kunčice with the factory itself by a railway siding. The expedition of products was ensured by the most common way of the time – railway transport. Cargo cableway was also chosen as the most suitable transportation of calcite from Černý Důl to Kunčice. 

A perfect project

Freight cableway was designed and build by the today non-existent state company Transporta Chrudim in the years 1959 till 1963. It is 8,350.0 kilometres long, the loading station (picture 3) is placed near the mine Černý Důl. The unloading station (picture 4) is placed right in the factory in Kunčice nad Labem. The cableway crosses on its way the road from Vrchlabí to Trutnov (see picture 5), the road from village Dolní Lánov (see picture 6), and the railway from Trutnov to Stará Paka, the railway siding of the company KVK and several forest and field roads.

Source: Lomy a těžba