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El Cable Teleferico

El Cable Teleferico, Marbella in 1950s © unkown
El Cable Teleferico, Marbella in 1950s © unkown


Playa el Cable (Cable Beach) takes its name from the overhead cable "El Cable Teleferico" runway that transported buckets of iron ore down from the Peñoncillo mine on the Sierra Blanca to ships moored offshore. If you look out to the sea you can't miss seeing the large anchor end tower of the line.

This sturdy concrete tower was the pylon that used to support the cable that in turn supported the buckets of iron ore. Here the buckets were tipped and discharged the iron ore into ocean going ships.

Marbella port previously had a high level port jetty on which iron ore trains ran onto directly from the mine. The wagons tipped their load directly into the holds of moored cargo ships. The high level jetty is similar to the ones that have been protected and restored in Huelva city and Almeria city.

By the mid-fifties, the port jetty had become too small for the larger ships to moor alongside and in 1957 the cableway was constructed to solve the problem. In the photo above, taken shortly after the cable way was constructed in 1957 the N-340 can be seen before the construction of any light industrial units.   

The cable way had a short life as in the 1960's the economics of the mine operation changed and the mine closed. The cable way was dismantled and only the pylons remained. All the inland pylons were soon removed to make way for other projects. Soon and all that remained was the pylon on the beach and the two out at sea. 

During the GIL era of the 1990s the cableway pylons were painted blue and white.

Of the two smaller intermediate support pylons at Playa el Cable, one was in the sea, and listing to such an angle that some days young dare devils would climb up and dive off much to the entertainment of the sunbathers. Another pylon was located right in the middle of the beach. They were both demolished and removed for safety in 2005.

In 2013 the national government who are responsible for the Spanish coastline announced that they would remove the last remaining pylon known as  'el cable' as it was dangerous. Local action groups called for its retention as it had become a symbol of Marbella. The council agreed to a repair programme which after government approval took place in the early summer of 2017. The repairs included cleaning debris, stripping old lead paint and repainting, removing any hanging and dangerous parts. 

The cable tower has developed its own marine life ecosystem. Soft corals such as Alcyonacean have grown around the base of the tower and on pieces or concrete and iron that have fallen off the tower over the years, such as an old lifting crane.  Mussels are common and so are anemones at lower levels. The site remains interesting for divers and environmentalist.