A nice way to spend my Bank Holiday Monday. May 2019
By Forgotten Productions
We are Forgotten Productions, Urban Explorers from Toronto,Canada.
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Kelenföld Power Plant is located in Budapest and was originally established in 1914, in conjunction with Hungary's electrification program. It was known as one of the most sophisticated and technologically advanced throughout Europe and supplied electricity to the entire capital. The site itself featured the first boiler house as an electrical supply building in the city. Between 1922 and 1943 the plant underwent two extension phases which introduced 19 modernised steam boilers and 8 turbines. These were operated at 38 bar steam pressure and transferred the increasing demand for electricity through 30 kV direct consumer cables. The equipment used was considered state of the art at the current time and was all produced by Hungarian manufacturers. By the 1930s the facility contributed to 60% of Budapest's heating and hot water which made up 4% of the country's overall energy supply.
The infamous Art Deco control room, also known as 'Special K' was completed in 1927, after two years of construction. Designed by notable architects Kálmán Reichl and Virgil Borbíro, because of this, it's listed as a protected site under Hungarian law and cannot be restored or destroyed. The Kelenföld control room is widely acclaimed as one of the most stunning monuments of industrial art. It uniquely explores the boundaries between functionality and grandeur, featuring a decorative oval skylight alongside the retro style green panels, hosting a range of buttons, dials, and gauges. Once the Second World War had begun, a small concrete shelter was added for the employees. This was due to the ornate glass ceiling, as it was considered to be a target during the bombing raids in the city.
By 1962 the plant was modernised again with accordance to the heat supply demands of the capital. The existing condensing technology was replaced with back pressure heating turbines and hot water boilers. This increased reliability, as coal was steadily becoming more outdated and inefficient. In 1972 gas turbines with a capacity of 32 MWe were integrated into the plant and were the first to be put into operation throughout Hungary. In 1995 another redevelopment phase was initiated which provided the power station with a heat recovery steam generator and later on in 2007 a water treatment plant was established. The control room itself was closed in 2005, since then it has been featured in a few well-known films such as the Chernobyl Diaries and World War Z. Other areas of the site remain active through private ownership, with buildings still providing power to Budapest.
We arrived in Budapest feeling cautiously optimistic, we had other locations on our agenda for the weekend but Kelenföld was a significant reason for our visit. It's something I've wanted to see since I started exploring a couple of years ago and failure was not an option for us. We had 3 days and therefore 3 attempts (at the minimum) to access it. Fortunately for us, we managed to get in the first time around and we couldn't have really asked for a better way to kick off the trip.
Once we made it inside the plant we found ourselves lost in a maze of locked doors and sealed off sections. Understandably they wanted to make it as difficult to get into the control room as possible. Whilst searching we heard the familiar sound of nearby footsteps and radio so we quickly found a decent spot to hide. "We have to keep moving, if we stay here we'll get busted," I said to my exploring partner, after a handful of excruciating minutes, listening to them steadily get closer and so we pressed on. Without giving too much away we managed to find our way to the main spectacle and were instantly blown away by it's immense beauty. So without further ado, onto the photos!
Unfortunately, with the security guard on the hunt for us we decided to bounce before getting caught ((more so my other half than myself.) As much as I would have loved to stay, I didn't argue. Means we have an excuse to go back!
As always if you've got this far, hope you enjoyed reading my report
This was originally a tandem mill for Wheeling-Pitt steel when it was opened, after it's closure about 12 years ago, it was bought by another steel firm - RG, this lasted until 2012, after it's closure, several of the outer buildings were used by a fracking firm that eventually pulled out in early 2017. Demolition started about a year ago and progress has been swift unfortunately. I apologize that some of the photos aren't that great of quality, I intend to do a revisit soon. I gotta watch for the cameras though lol
This city is one of the best spots I have been and was a blast to explore. I had to go back a second time to cover the whole area; first in September 2018 and again in Late November. Picher Oklahoma was part of the Tri-State mining district, and was deemed contaminated in the late 90's by the EPA. A mass exodus followed and by 2010 the population had reached a mere 20 people, a shadow of what was once home to 9,000 people. Within the next 2 years the last residents were forced to leave and the city became completely abandoned. Although some buildings have been demolished, quite a few areas remain intact in both Picher and Cardin, which is adjacent and also a ghost town. All 3 towns nearby were also abandoned due to contamination from Picher. Today Picher is known as the most toxic city in the United States, and the water in the nearby streams and river is orange and red. Even the birds stay away, and the town is deathly silent.