We knew that ships had names – but tunnelling machines? Apparently so, according to the people at Crossrail, who this week launched a competition asking the public to nominate the names of ‘inspirational modern figures’ for two more of their Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM’s). ‘Giving tunnelling machines women’s names is a time-honoured tunnelling tradition,’ said Crossrail, who have already named six of the TBM’s that are probably at work tunnelling beneath you as you read.
In west London, the machines are called Ada and Phyllis, named after early computer scientist Ada Lovelace, and Phyllis Pearsall who created the London A-Z; there’s Elizabeth and Victoria in east London, named after Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II; and Mary and Sophia in southeast London, named after the wives of famous railway engineers Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Marc Isambard Brunel. The only criteria for the names of the final two machines are that they must be women and real-life figures, not fictional characters. So Amy, perhaps, Adele, or even Dot? The nominations close on Friday May 31.
The two machines – with their new names etched onto thier sides – will be launched from Pudding Mill Lane near the Olympic Park this summer. Rebecca Taylor
For more information on how to enter the competition see crossrail.co.uk/tbmnamingcomp. Let us know what name you would nominate below.