William Barttelot and the Queltehues Hydro Electric Project 1926 – 1928 in Chile

Thomas Kelly, one of our members, has sent us these fantastic photos from his grandfather who traveled to Chile to work with the Pearson Group.

In 1926 William Barttelot then only 20 left Liverpool bound for Valparaiso in Chile. He had accepted a post with the Pearson Group to work on a hydro-scheme in the Andes. On March 13th the R.M.S. Orcoma crossed the equator and he was duly given the freedom of the sea by Neptune.

William was to be employed as the Assistant Foreman at the Aquaduct and Power House that would supply much needed electricity for the City of Santiago.

The site of the project was close to the Maipo River some 50 kms east of Santiago and the permanent workers camp at Queltehues would have to be constructed into the winter of 1926 with all materials brought by train.

Tunneling in 1926 and 1927 continued alongside the building of the Power House. Foundations and the building of the Power House started in May 1926

Installation of the turbines into the Power House began in September 1927. When the turbine hall had been completed the process of installation of the machinery could start. These huge tubes and fan blades, many weighing over 55,000 kgs had to be manhandled onto trains from Santiago up to the site.

Over this time the water pipes had to brought and a route dug from the Maipo River. Construction on roads, dams, bridges, channels and waterways began in 1927. The electricity pylons had to be constructed in 1927

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