F60 Overburden Conveyor Bridge: The Horizontal Eiffel Tower

Oct 9, 2023 0 comments

About 60 km north of Dresden, in Lichterfeld-Schacksdorf in Lower Lusatia, Brandenburg, Germany, lies a steel behemoth. It’s a gigantic overburden conveyor bridge named F60 that was once in operation in the coalfields there.

An overburden conveyor bridge is a mining equipment used in strip mining for removing overburden (the top soil and rock that needs to be removed in order to reach the coal seam or ore below) and dumping it on the inner spoil bank of the open-cut mine. The F60 is the last of five conveyor bridges of similar sizes built between 1969 and 1991. Four of them are still in action in lignite mines in Lower Lusatia, while the fifth one is preserved as a visitor attraction after the mines shut down in 1992.

Photo credit: LutzBruno/Wikimedia Commons

The F60 is the largest and the longest movable technical industrial machines in the world. It is 502 meters long and 80 meters tall. Because of its size and the pattern made by the trusses, the F60 is humorously referred to as the ‘horizontal Eiffel Tower’. Indeed, if Gustave Eiffel’s creation was laid down next to the F60, the industrial machine would blow the Parisian tower out of the water—the latter being only 330 meters. The F60 also weighs 13,600 metric tons, against 3,700 tons of the Eiffel Tower. It is one of the heaviest land vehicles ever made, beaten only by Bagger 293, which is a giant bucket-wheel excavator.

During its operation, the F60 was accompanied by two bucket chain excavators, and together they could excavate and move 29,000 cubic meters of overburden per hour, which corresponded to a weight of 50,000 tons of overburden. Despite its mammoth size, the F60 needed only 1.2 kWh of electrical energy to extract, move and dump one cubic meter of overburden, which was very economical.

Construction of the F60 was begun in 1988 during a time when the region was still a part of the old East Germany (DDR), and it first went into operation in 1991. After only 13 months of operation, the mine was closed and the German federal government ordered the region to be renovated. The original plan was to dismantle the horizontal Eiffel Tower, but things turned out quite differently.

Now the F60 is a visitor attraction and there are guided tours available.

Comparison of the F60 and the Eiffel Tower. Photo credit: www.f60.de

Photo credit: Gunnar Ries/Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Michael F. Mehnert/Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Michael F. Mehnert/Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Michael F. Mehnert/Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Je-str/Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: LutzBruno/Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Niesen/Wikimedia Commons

# F60 Overburden Conveyer Bridge, European Route of Industrial Heritage
# Overburden Conveyor Bridge, www.f60.de


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