Monday, 25 June 2012

August 22nd, 2010 pt.2

A shuttle bus came to pick us up at 7:00pm in front of the main community building and brought us to the security station to get clearance.  We watched a video and a short briefing about the history and development of the generating station.

Construction started in 1967 and was completed in 1971

At the time of construction, Churchill Falls was the largest underground power station in the world.  The powerhouse is 972 ft long, up to 81 ft. wide, and 154 ft. high from top to bottom. 

Entering the transformer gallery

1 of the 11 transformers in the facility.  As we were riding to Churchill Falls, I remember seeing three 16-wheeler trucks towing one of these behemoths along the TLH.  We had no clue what it was other than it had taken up the majority of the road.  With our bikes, we were able to squeeze past them.

Let’s see if we can smuggle one of these out and strap it on to our milk crates

2,300,000 cu yd of rock was excavated from the underground caverns and was used to build the town site and roads of Churchill Falls.  The town itself is operated by the company and has amenities that include a school, grocery store, theatre, library, and recreational facilities.  Population is about 650; whom all are connected to the company Nalcor in some shape or form.  Hmmmm I’m not sure what to think of it, must pay really good. 

There are 11 generating units in total

The turbine wheels are cast of stainless steel and weigh 73 tons which is the world record for the largest stainless steel casting ever made

I must say though, visually this generating station was not as impressive as Manic 5, but the tour was worth our time.  We managed to snag a few extra pairs of ear plugs they were giving out as part of the tour; that in itself was worth taking the tour.  It was dark by the time the tour ended and we weren’t keen on looking for a place to camp.  When we were dropped off back at the community centre, we asked the security guard if there was a patch of grass to pitch a tent in town.  The man, in his Newfoundlander accent, directed us to the front of the local church and told us travelers do it all the time and that we won’t be bothered.  He did warn us that black bears do occasionally venture into town, but assured us that he’ll keep an eye out while on patrol.  When we picked a spot to set up camp, we noticed a familiar looking BMW GS and its owner, already sound asleep in his tent, not too far from us… 

Hollowed from granite.

An engineering marvel.

Stocked up on ear plugs.

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