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News, 22 October 2010

TULA powers up again

Tunnel boring machine for the European XFEL starts second tunnel towards Osdorfer Born. This tunnel section too was officially christened before construction began.

On 21 October 2010, the large tunnel boring machine for the European XFEL called TULA (TUnnel for LAser) set off for the second leg of its journey. After completing the first 480 metres from Schenefeld to the site Osdorfer Born in summer in the record-breaking time of just under two months, it will now construct the second tunnel section between Schenefeld and Osdorfer Born. If construction proceeds as smoothly as before, as the building team expects, the machine will arrive there at the end of December. This time, however, it will not be dismantled, but moved on rails to the other side of the shaft to resume its way straight ahead towards DESY-Bahrenfeld as of beginning of January 2011.

As is the rule in tradition-conscious tunnel building, this almost 600-metre-long tunnel section was also christened before the boring machine started up. Around 80 guests – mainly tunnel builders and representatives from the European XFEL GmbH, DESY and the building consortium ARGE Tunnel XFEL – met on 18 October next to TULA’s new launch shaft to celebrate the christening of the new tunnel and the start of the next construction stage. Dr. Herlind Gundelach, Hamburg’s State Minister for science and patroness of the tunnel, wished the builders and their machine good luck before cutting the ribbon that held the champagne bottle. With the assistance of the patroness of TULA, Imke Gembalies from the European XFEL GmbH, she then distributed chocolate bars to the tunnel builders. Saint Barbara was also present: the wooden statue of the miners’ patron saint, which had been blessed at the end of June before the machine’s first assignment, is now watching over the tunnel builders from a shrine on the wall of the new launch shaft.

Christening of the second tunnel section for the European XFEL. Left: State Minister Gundelach, the patroness of the tunnel, wishes the building team good luck. Right: Tunnel christening next to the new launch shaft of tunnel boring machine TULA.