Do you want to learn more about the industrial history of Luxembourg and more specifically the history of iron mines? Here is a new idea to go out with family or friends in Luxembourg to spend a nice day and make a fun and cultural visit: visit the Luxembourgish iron mines on historical steam mining trains!
Minett Park, an open-air mining museum with an industrial and railway park
Fond-de-Gras, located in the south of the country near Differdange, is a site with many iron mines. Iron ore was extracted and then transported to iron and steel industries in Luxembourg or abroad. The last mine of Luxembourg was closed in 1964 in Fond-de-Gras, thus relegating the entire Luxembourg mining industry to the past.
Today, we can relive some of this mining history by visiting the Minett Park and better understand the daily lives of miners, who go down every day in underground galleries, sometimes at the risk of their lives, to collect iron ore (Minett in Luxembourgish) and feed their families.
Thanks to volunteers, today 2 mining trains still run in Minett Park Fond-de-Gras, a real open air museum presenting the history of iron mines in Luxembourg in the 19th century.
The 1900 steam train will drive you between Pétange and the Fond-de-Gras (round trip) on the former Minières railway line that transported the iron ore.
To continue the journey and better discover the reality of mines, take the mining train “Minièresbunn” on the narrow railway line between the old mine of Fond-de-Gras and the working-class village of Lasauvage. Do not forget to take a jumper, the train go through mines!
Visit the buildings that witnessed the old industrial activity: the miners’ quarters, the picturesque Victor Binck grocery store, open until 1980, the power station in the Paul Wurth lobby, the rolling mill train, the historical “Bei der Giedel” café and restaurant, the “room of the hanged”, …. The collection of the “Train 1900” association includes a dozen carefully restored steam and diesel trains.
These historical places and trains are accessible by tourists every Sunday and public holiday from May 1st to September 30th.
Many events are organised as part of the Minett Park Fond-de-Gras, do not hesitate to consult their website to discover this place before the end of the season!
Giele Botter Nature Park
You can also visit the site of the nature park and walk through the various marked trails on the former open air pit mining site “Giele Botter”.
For Joanna Gizewska, Polish ambassador for the JUST ARRIVED Ambassadors Club: “The official opening of the season reminded me of a similar tradition in my country, Poland. On Labor Day, May 1, the industrial regions of Poland proudly present their steam trains with the first trips after a long winter. Very nostalgic memory!”