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WildBoyz

New Zealand Otahuhu Power Station (Sites A and B), Auckland - June 2017

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History

“Originally the station [Otahuhu A] was designed to be maintenance free but this proved to be a fallacy early on. Although we all knew very little about gas turbines, we learnt quickly that there was a great team environment” (Allen Morrison, former generation technician). 

Otahuhu Power Station is located in Otara, in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. The site holds two decommissioned plants: Otahuhu A and Otahuhu B. Otahuhu A, a gas turbine plant, was constructed in the 1960s. When it became operational in 1968, it had four 45 MW gas turbine units and, for three years, it contained the largest turbines in Australasia. Two additional units using Rolls-Royce Olympus gas turbines were installed in 1978, to cope with the demands of a rapidly expanding city. The turbines in Otahuhu A were retired from electricity generation in the late 1990s. However, they remained in service to provide reactive power to Transpower NZ, the owner of the national grid. Active power is the energy used to power our homes and various devices, while reactive power is used to regulate voltage in an electrical power system. This prevents damage, such as the overheating of generators and motors, reduces transmission losses and helps to maintain the ability of the system to withstand and prevent voltage collapse. The turbines were finally decommissioned in November 2013. 

The Otahuhu B site was commissioned in January 2000 at a cost of $350 million. It was a natural gas combined cycle plant that used a Siemens V94.3A(2) gas turbine in single-shaft configuration. When it was first commissioned, the plant capacity was 385 MW; however, upgrades to the equipment had to be made in 2005 to increase the amount of electricity being produced by the plant. It’s capacity subsequently increased to 404 MW.

Otahuhu B was still a relatively new plant when it closed its doors in September 2015 (it had only been run for half of its expected life). Sadly, of the thirty-three people working at the plant, fifteen were left without jobs, while the rest were transferred to other Contact sites. According to Contact Energy, the former owners of the site, the plant was turned off due to the increasing development of renewable energy across New Zealand, such as the new Te Mihi geothermal power station. One report also indicated that ‘New Zealand has a surplus of generating capacity at the moment and this means that generators have less control of the price. To make money they need to keep the system on the edge of a shortage. Shutting down Otahuhu is consistent with this objective.’ 

Otahuhu Power Station was sold to Stonehill Property Trust for $30 million in February 2016. Both plants are due to be cleaned of asbestos, dismantled and sold off as scrap. It is expected that the land will eventually be sold off for commercial and industrial use.

Our Version of Events

It recently came to our attention that the old Otahuhu Power Plant closed its doors back in 2015 and is now due to be demolished, so we decided to go have a wee look. Having heard that demo work was already in progress, though, we weren’t expecting to find much, especially after catching a rumour about the police blowing up the control room as part of a training exercise. 

Our first glimpses of the site showed our speculations to be accurate. Site A, the oldest part of the power station, is currently semi-demolished and it has many, many holes in it. Obviously, this made accessing it very easy, but we were a bit disappointed to find we’d missed out on our chance to see the turbines. Nevertheless, as with most power stations, there was still plenty of stuff lying around, so it wasn’t a complete waste of a journey. The control room was certainly interesting too, for it did indeed look like someone had lobbed a few grenades around in there. Nevertheless, after spending a good hour on the site, we decided we’d revisit the site during the day the following day, as it was difficult to take photos and not get caught waving torches around – especially when the building didn’t have much of a roof left. 

We returned the next day and gathered the snaps we’d been after. Then, we decided to head over to site B, the newer plant. At this point, we weren’t sure whether the site was closed or not, since there were two car parks nearby and they were full of cars. What is more, all of the lights were still on, and a few machines were still casually humming away. Yet, despite having initial reservations, we crept onto the site, albeit very slowly. The entire place looked like a live power station; it seemed as though it could be put back into operation tomorrow, and it felt like we were going to accidently bump into someone – a worker or security guard – at any moment. There was some evidence that demolition work might have begun from the outside, or at least some redecoration work, but we really weren’t sure which at this point. 

We must have been on the second site around two minutes before we noticed that we may have wandered directly into the path of a camera. That’s what worrying about bumping into workers does to you… Nevertheless, rather than run away we decided it would be worth the risk to crack on and get inside the main building. After all, opportunities like this only come round every so often. So, that’s what we did. In the end, we’re glad we did because inside we found ourselves surrounded by fine quality industrial porn. We spent the next forty minutes or so convinced security would be onto us at any moment, so every single sound made us stop in our tracks. As it turned out, though, no one turned up to give us a bollocking and escort us off site, so, all in all, it ended up being a great explore. 

Explored with Nillskill

 

Otahuhu A

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Otahuhu B

 

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Edited by WildBoyz

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Interesting place. I especially like the pics from #33, also the light on pic 13.

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    • By eyevolve
      lil place in my backyard...
      i've been coming to this spot for over a decade. tragically i've only picked up a camera a few years back. it's nice to be able to visit a location many times in the continuation of self improvement and documenting the destruction of a location. heres a few shots from over the past year:

       
      pano from last summer. i ran here one day as the sun set. i wanted to catch the lighting.
       
       


      belly of the boiler.
       
       


      behind the controls. another scrapper hard at work i see.
       
       


      test shop.
       
       


      looking down
       
       


      the next year would be sad times as kids from all over began to populate this place. i used to be able to walk around for weeks without running into a soul, and now there could be 30 kids here. 
       
       


      in a short period of time shity taggers would desicrate the temple. angering the gods.
       
       


      even the snow doesnt cover that grime.
       
       


      she sure is a beauty tho. i've been to quite a few generating stations and none compare
       
       


      it felt like a train station grande hall. standing in the freezing cold taking a pic of snow falling (or ceiling)
       
       


      so ladylike
       


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      until next time . . . 
    • By WildBoyz
      History

      As far as history goes for this particular property, it is sparse as it is nothing more than a fairly modern residential building. One newspaper based in Barnsley reported that traffic came to a standstill as a result of a fire at the property on Rotherham Road. Two fire crews attended the scene and spent two-and-a-half hours extinguishing the blaze. A second source suggests that the fire was caused by a lit candle, and that a woman had a lucky escape. The woman concerned apparently suffered slight smoke inhalation but was otherwise in good health. The property itself is an average sized two-storey house. Its notable features include an indoor swimming pool and a spiral staircase. 

      Our Version of Events

      Of all the places we could end up in, we ended up in Barnsley. After looking at the town hall and wandering around the town and its meat and fish market for half an hour it didn’t take long to run out of things to do, so we decided we might as well look for an explore. However, the best thing we could find, unfortunately, was an old burnt down house. We tried a couple of other spots beforehand but didn’t have much luck overall. 

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    • By WildBoyz
      History

      The Waterloo Tunnel is a 779 metre (852 yards) long disused railway tunnel in Liverpool. It opened in 1849. At its Eastern end, the Waterloo Tunnel opens into a short cutting (approximately 63 metres long) which connects to the Victoria Tunnel which is 1.536 miles (2.474 kilometres) long. Effectively, both tunnels are one long tunnel with an open-air ventilation cutting in between; however, they were given different names initially because trains in the Waterloo Tunnel were locomotive hauled while trains in the Victoria Tunnel were cable hauled. 

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      Both tunnels were constructed because the city of Liverpool is built on a densely populated escarpment (a long, steep slope) that drops down to the River Mersey. This meant building on the surface would have been difficult without causing major disruption, but also that the landscape was ideal for the construction of a line that could be placed beneath the ground. Nevertheless, cutting both tunnels still proved to be a difficult task as care had to be taken to avoid disturbing the buildings above due to their shallow depth. The work from Byrom Street eastwards proved the most difficult and perilous and, despite efforts to excavate carefully, the soft clay in the area caused several houses to give way, rendering them uninhabitable. All the inhabitants were forced to abandon their homes at short notice. What this means is that the design of the tunnel – becoming two separate structures – was a result of circumstance.

      The first goods traffic travelled through the tunnels in August 1849. However, a three-foot section of Victoria Tunnel collapsed in September 1852. The collapse was quickly repaired and the tunnels were used by goods traffic without any further major incidents until 1899, when a freight train consisting of a tank, twenty-three loaded wagons and a brake van separated when a coupling between the seventh and eighth wagons fractured. Two wagons and the van were destroyed in the incident, and two of the three men aboard were killed. A train that was travelling towards the docks was also caught up in the accident as it collided with the debris and partially derailed. 

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      The futures of both the Waterloo and Victoria Tunnel are uncertain. However, the Merseyrail Network have proposed to use part of them to create a connection to the low-level Liverpool Central Station. Creating the connection would reduce journey times to Edge Hill. Unfortunately, though, so far all plans have fallen through due to some local opposition and budget constraints. The last attempt to revive the line was made in 2007, driven by plans to redevelop the north shore area of Liverpool. 

      Our Version of Events

      After meeting up with a couple of Liverpool based explorers, and hitting an old industrial site first, we decided to head over to the Waterloo/Victoria Tunnel. It was good to meet a couple of locals for a change because they both had an exceptional knowledge of the area – something we lack when it comes to exploring in Liverpool, unfortunately. Anyway, this saved us having to do much research and scouting for a change. So, thanks fellas!

      When we initially rocked up outside our chosen access point, several Network Rail guys were busy standing around a couple of shovels and one guy down a hole. Rather than leave and come back, though, we decided to sit in the car and wait for them to fuck off. Our patience paid off pretty quickly since the boys in orange decided to down tools literally five minutes after we’d parked up. Once they’d left, we gave them an additional five minutes before we grabbed our gear and made our way into the tunnels, to account for any of them who might have left their beloved tape measure or spirit level behind. 

      The first tunnel, the Waterloo Tunnel, smelt strongly of tar or creosote. We weren’t sure of the source, but the floor was fairly manky, giving an indication that there may have been a recent spillage. That, however, was perhaps the most interesting part of this section of the explore. All in all, it didn’t seem especially exceptional – even if it was quite wide. Hoping the explore would be better in the latter half, then, we cracked on and made our way towards the open-air section. 

      As several other reports have revealed, the open-air section/accident between the two tunnels is full of shit. It seems Liverpool folk don’t bother visiting the local tip, they simply lob their old goodies off the bridge on Fontenoy Street. Anyone seeking spare lawnmower parts, or a second-hand seatee, should get themselves straight down to the Waterloo Tunnel. Sadly, we didn’t need either, so we had to clamber over the mountain of shit instead, to reach the Victoria Tunnel on the other side. 

      Once inside the Victoria Tunnel, we began our long walk towards Edge Hill Station. At this point, we weren’t aware how long the bloody thing is, but it soon became clear to us that the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t getting much closer any time soon. Nevertheless, we plodded on, heading towards the small dot of light in the far distance. The Victoria Tunnel was much more interesting that its sister. A large proportion of it is brick-lined, but there are also large unlined sections that have simply been carved out. There are several ventilation shafts to look at along the way too, and each one is different to the last. It’s only now, having been inside the Victoria Tunnel, that we understand what a few of the random structures are on the surface directly above. Finally, the tunnel ends with a short section of railway track that is still in situ, which is always nice to find. The only things to be careful of down this end are Network Rail workers and, so we have been told, a camera waiting for unsuspecting visitors to the tunnel. 

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    • By Stussy
      Another drive past find on a trip to Italy last year, never seen pics of it, so we called it Powerplant Percy.  It was a sub-station of some sort, but stripped out and not much to see, but it was rather nice inside, so here you have it.
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       
      Well there you have it, a stripped out shell, but they need a bit of love too, or maybe not, you got this far, so you must have enjoyed it 
       
    • By WildBoyz
      History

      The local history for this one is a bit vague, so we’re going off a few dodgy sources here. One of those includes a local lad we met inside the building who happened to be ‘salvaging’ trophies. With that in mind, it is unknown when the International Social Club was constructed. However, judging by the style of the building, and the fact that the social club only traded for the past twenty years or so, it could be surmised that it was originally a three-storey house that was built at the same time as some of its neighbouring buildings. In its current form, the building has a four-room underground cellar, a snooker room and main bar area with a stage and dance floor on the ground floor, a lounge and bar area on the first floor, and a one bedroomed self-contained flat on the top floor. The property is currently on the market with a guide price of £175,000. The brochure advises potential buyers that the building is ‘suitable for residential redevelopment’ and ‘benefits from central heating’. As for the reason for it being derelict, according to the local lad we met, the building was condemned and subsequently shut down due to a rat infestation. This information comes from an individual who, apparently, used to frequent the club on the odd occasion when he fancied the odd Carlsberg or lager shandy.  

      Our Version of Events

      With a bit of time to kill over in Liverpool, we decided to go check out the International Social Club. It was fairly close to a couple of other buildings we’d been scoping out, so we agreed it was a good idea to pop in on our way back to the city centre. We found it without any bother; however, it just so happened that when we rocked up, so did a local chav. Clad in his dark blue tracksuit, we caught him sneaking onto the grounds trying to enter the building. At this point, then, we assumed he was meeting a few other local yobs to drink a couple of bottles of White Lightning in the cellar or smash the place to shit, or both. Nevertheless, no sooner had we thought these things did he emerge from the building once again, looking a little lost. So, we decided to confront him and ask him what he was doing.

      After a quick chat with the local youth, he declared his ‘interest’ in abandoned buildings but also admitted that he didn’t have any kind of torch or light with him. This was when he happened to notice that we were armed to the teeth with torches, so we shared with him our intention to enter the premises. Our new chavvy friend was elated at this news because we could now light the way for him. With the newfound knowledge he would be able to see where he was going, he led the way and showed us how to enter the building (which, as it turned out, was rather easy anyway). 

      Once inside, we chatted with our new chavvy friend and did our best to convince him that ghosts don’t really exist. We didn’t seem to do very well in that department, unfortunately, so we told him that real ghosts only haunt pubs and clubs that had a good selection of beer, which this one didn’t. This seemed to settle Chayse’s (we made this name up, but it seems suitable) nerves and, from that point on, he started to reveal his true reason for being in the social club. He was there to steal a couple of trophies. By the time we were finished taking snaps, we realised his tracksuit pockets were filled with the things. We were about to ask him what he was doing, and how much he thought he was going to fetch for the merchandise, when we heard someone run (presumably away from us) up a set of stairs. This startled Chayse and, after checking to see the stairs were clear, he made a run for it himself. We never saw him again. 

      Following Chayse’s untimely departure, we continued to explore the remainder of the building. All we really had left to check out was the top floor. Once we found the staircase that took us up there, we quickly discovered that the door was firmly locked. It turns out, as we discovered later when talking to two Liverpool-based explorers, that some guy is living in that section of the building, claiming it’s his home. In hindsight, then, it was probably this guy we heard bolting up the stairs, to make sure we didn’t wander uninvited into his personal living quarters. We did knock, but there was no answer, so, having explored the entire building at that point, we decided to call it a day and make our way back out. 

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