AMELI reaches first milestone
After almost 12 weeks, the tunnel boring machine AMELI broke through the wall of its first reception shaft, completing the 544-metre-long tunnel section XTD9. Schenefeld mayor Christiane Küchenhof greeted the team inside the reception shaft.
The tunnel builders had heard it already during their underground work: a loud rumble in the pipes through which the excavated soil is being transported back into the launch shaft and from there up to the separation plant. The visible signs were the worn-out tools on the cutterhead of the tunnel boring machine, which could clearly be seen after its breakthrough into the shaft XS3. AMELI’s first leg had been stony. But apparently, the tunnelling team mastered the difficult ground conditions brilliantly. As the project leader of the ARGE Tunnel XFEL consortium, Gerhard Menke, proudly declared at the small breakthrough celebration, AMELI reached its goal with a deviation of only five millimetres.
Among the reception committee was patroness Christiane Küchenhoff, who had christened the machine at the end of December 2010 in icy weather conditions. She congratulated the tunnel builders on this first test they passed and wished them good luck for the remaining seven tunnel sections beneath the Schenefeld site.
During the coming weeks, the nine-metre-long front part of AMELI, including the cutterhead, will be lifted out of the shaft—in one piece!—by a special crane, transported back by truck to its launch shaft, the building pit of the future experiment hall, and then lowered again into the launch shaft by crane. This requires a lot of care and tact, as the track of the tunnel railway for the second tunnel boring machine, TULA, ends inside the reception shaft directly next to the shield of AMELI. In addition, two silos for the tunnel construction with TULA are located not far away in front of AMELI’s cutterhead. At the beginning of May, AMELI will set out from its launch shaft in the direction of the shaft XS3 for the second time. It will then construct the two tunnel sections XTD10 and XTD4, which are located one behind the other.