First buildings and the arm trenches

January 1996

Up to now the ramming for the eastward trench has been completed and the first 100 m for the northward trench have been done.

17th January 1996:

The reinforcement beams stabilizing the trench, are welded to the I-beams running along the panels to prevent the trench from collapsing.
The welders use a small cart running on the I-beams with a portable generator put atop.

18th January 1996:

The steel construction for the central station has been set up. To get an idea of the scales: The hole in the northern wall, where the tube will finally pass through, has got a diameter of 1m. The building is 8 m x 13 m.
Meanwhile the insulation (a sandwich construction of aluminium sheets with insulating foam in between) is fixed to the eastern end-house.

19th January 1996:

The builders have to use the most sophisticated and modern equipment in their struggle to get the building closed before they are frozen to the ground.  At this time of the day it is -8°C and a freezing eastern wind.
Imagine, this is supposed once to become a cleanroom!!

20th January 1996:

21st January 1996:

29th January 1996:

Except for the first week of January work has completely been stopped. The wheather is extremely cold right now, the ground is frozen to a depth of about one and half a meter. This morning's (9.2.1996) temperature has been -17°C. Within the next week there is no change to be expected.

May 1996

View from the central station to the eastern end house.

Now, in the middle of May 1996 the ramming of the second trench is done, except for the last 150 m. The I-beams and transverse reinforcement beams are welded at the first 400 m. The northward trench is dug out at a length of about 500 m and will be finished within the next week. The first two sections of the rail where the tube will be hung at and pushed out of the end house have been installed and works all right. We have set up a wooden 'hut' in front of the eastern end-house for storing up to six tube sections before welding them together inside the end-house. Inside the eastern end-house the 'platforms' are set up and the major part of the electrical installation ist done.

We intend to begin tube installation around end of May. A short tube section has been taken out of the actual manufacturing process and its vacuum properties (outgasing rate, residual partial pressures before and after baking) are checked.

View from the eastern end house to the central station.
View from the central station to the northern end house.
The trench just before the eastern end house. A part of the tube can be seen.
The eastern end house with the wooden 'hut'.
The central station.
Inside the central station. View from the entrace.
Inside the central station. View from below.

June 1996

Now, on the 24th of June, the eastern end-house is finished, the welding machine is in place, and the rail where the tube will be hung from is installed and adjusted. We have built a "wooden hut" with a shelf inside which takes up to 6 pieces of the 4.5 m tube sections for short term storing capacity. The trench is ready and covered with corrugated sheet metal. The welding of the tube will (hopefully) begin within a week or two.

The ramming of the second trench is nearly completed. There are only about 100 m left. We are currently checking the vacuum properties of a 75 cm test section taken out of the manufacturing process. The first results look promising.

View into the central station (from the entrance). You can see the beginning of the south-north trench (left side of the picture), and the west-east trench (right side).
The eastern end house with the wooden hut. Michaela is just taking spectra of the seismic motion inside the end house.
Inside the eastern end house. The red part (to keep people off from here) is the separate foundation where the tank will be placed upon. From here the tube will lead 600 m to the central station.
Inside the eastern end house. You can see the welding machine (red) with a short test segment of tube in front of the port in the wall leading to the trench (with the black seal to keep the building dust tight when welding the tube) and another tube section to see whether everything fits together. During the welding process the building will be slightly pressurized to prevent dust entering the building. An air lock allows to enter the building.
Sir Harald on his horse ('wild fiesta blue'), ready to fight the black knight…
Installing the rail, where the tube will be hung at. Each rail segment has a length of 12 m.
On a hot summer day (temperatures are above 30°C), the rail for the west-east trench is going to be installed. From the left to the right you see: Mathias, Michael, Hans, Andreas, and Dirk. The electrical drill is mounted on a trailer behind an old tractor. A generator is placed on the pickup seen on the left hand side.
Hans in the trench, installing the rail, which is hung each 3 m from the reinforcement beams between the panels. The wheels sitting atop the reinforcement beams allow thermal expansion of the rail, which is bolted together at the joints and therefore acts as one long rail. The thermal expansion between winter and summer of the whole rail is expected to be roughly 60 cm.
Hans and Benno working in the trench.
READY! You can see a part of the roof that will cover the trench. Attached to the rail you can see the trolley for pushing the tube out of the end house. The black wheel connected to the trolley takes the rope where the tube will rest in. That way the whole tube can be rotated around it's axis. In the trench on the right hand side you see the power supply cable running to the central station.
And now it's… (from left to right: Benno, Michael, Hans, Andreas (back), Mathias, Mia, Jeannie)
…teatime. (from left to right: Mathias, Michaela, Michael, Andreas, Hans, Benno)

September 1996

The wooden hut in front of the eastern end-house.
A look from the top of the central station to the northern end-house.
The delivery of new tubes in front of the eastern end-house.
The tubes are stored within the wooden hut.
A tube is placed in front of the sluice…
... and pushed into the interior of the eastern end-house. Alexander removes the protective cover of the tube.
The tube hovers above the welding machine.
The welder at work.