The Ernest Shackleton departed from Creek 4 on 5th March, marking the end of what has been a record-breaking season at Halley. It’s been the longest summer season for many years (the first flight arrived more than four months earlier). There have been more people on station (more than 100 at the height of relief) and more cargo offloaded (more than 300 sledges during first call alone). Most importantly a huge amount of construction work has been successfully achieved, putting the project on programme at the end of the first construction season.
Team photo of all the staff involved in the first construction season.
The first of the accommodation modules has been cladded, and has been raised on its hydraulic legs, making an imposing sight and giving a taste of what the new station will look like when complete.
Project Manager Karl Tuplin stands besides the completed module.
The steel frames and hydraulic legs are now in place for the other six standard modules. To protect these modules from the winter weather and to allow work to continue inside they have been covered by large custom-made canvas structures. These tents proved they were up to the task before the start of winter, when they held fast against a four day gale with wind speeds reaching 50 mph.
The construction site part way through the season. In this picture four of the modules have their tent covers on. Some buildings from the current station in the background show the scale of the new station.
Sheltered from the weather, a great deal of mechanical and electrical work has been completed inside the modules. All the main items of plant and prefabricated rooms have been lifted into place, and pipe fitting, heat and ventilation and electrical works are on schedule.
Inside one of the Halley VI bedrooms. Accommodation will be more spacious and comfortable than the current facilities. Photo by David Evans.
Although the majority of the construction work has been happening in the vicinity of Halley V station this year there has been some preliminary work to do out at the Halley VI site, so there has been a small team working at an isolated camp 15km from the main station.
The construction camp at the Halley VI site.
Once the site was surveyed their main job was to install building foundations, mast foundations and cables that will form the new site. The once flat site is now dotted with mounds of cable reels, the legs of what will be the new CASLab (Clean Air Sector Laboratory), and the familiar sight of 16 aligned towers that will make up the new SHARE radar. By next summer the main cable runs will be buried by the winter snow, ready to be connected to the science cabooses and other external structures.