December 27th

(click on any photo for a larger version)


After we had breakfast with Dave and Lynne (see Dec 25th) we Checked into the Heritage Hotel in Auckland.  The Heritage Hotel has had a varied past.  It started life as a department store, was then converted to private apartments and then converted to a hotel.  We shared a two bedroom suite with Larry and Elaine.

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The 'living room' area to the suite

The view ...


We arrived several days before the tour was to start (most of the people arrived on the 29th).  Dave arranged several extra activities for us since we were early.

After we got settled in our hotel room, Joan and Elaine rested in the room while Larry and I were invited for a tour of the high voltage cable tunnel that Dave's company had a hand in constructing.  The tunnel is some 10 km long and about 200 feet below the streets of Auckland.  It carries a 110,000 volt transmission line into downtown Auckland.

p1010146_edited.jpg (93187 bytes) Machine used during installation to pull the cable through the tunnel

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One of two 60 hp fans used to exhaust the tunnel when people are present.  The cabinet in the background is a 60 hp Variable Frequency Drive.
p1010147_edited.jpg (52329 bytes) There are actually several power lines in the tunnel.  Dave is holding samples of the cables.
p1010165_edited.jpg (114118 bytes) This is the top of the lift that we used to travel the 200 odd feet down to the tunnel itself.
p1010149_edited.jpg (71983 bytes) Looking down the 200 foot drop in the access shaft
p1010162_edited.jpg (75758 bytes) The bottom end of the lift ...
p1010148_edited.jpg (49121 bytes) Larry in some of the protection gear we wore in the tunnel.


p1010161-copy.jpg (67687 bytes) Larry and Dave inspecting the generator unit used for maintenance in the tunnel.
p1010160-copy.jpg (60465 bytes) This is the best photo I have of the 'train' that Dave designed and built.  This is the rear end showing a car for equipment, passenger car and the locomotive at the far end (more on the loco below).
p1010159-copy_edited.jpg (103407 bytes) This is the transmission control on the loco.  Note that because there is no sense of east/west/north/south in the tunnel it is not labeled "forward" and "reverse", etc. but rather "Hobson" and "Penrose" which is where the ends of the tunnel are located.
p1010155-copy_edited.jpg (114369 bytes) Here the 'train' is parked next to the high tension cables.  It was a weird feeling being less than a meter from a cable carrying 110,000 volts!
p1010157-copy_edited.jpg (94818 bytes) Dave designed an interesting switch for the track.  The loco had rubber 'traction' tires in addition to flanged wheels.  The tires were needed to get the traction required to haul the cable during its installation.  The special switch had to allow the rubber tires to pass.  Here the switch is set for the turnout.
p1010158-copy_edited.jpg (76746 bytes) Here the switch is set to proceed straight ahead.  The rails are swiveled into each configuration by a set of linkages activated by one lever.  (Sorry about the poor quality of the photo.  The reflective tape on the fire suits made it difficult to get a good photo)

The locomotive on the work train uses a diesel engine with a catalytic converter on the exhaust.  Even in the enclosed tunnel there was no smoke at all and very little smell produced.  Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the catalytic converter itself.

The power cables were towed into the tunnel in 1 kilometer lengths.  Apparently this was limited by the diameter of the cable spool that could be lowered down the access shaft.

We then walked down to the dock area for lunch and spent the rest of the day generally relaxing.


Next day: December 28