Vote to name giant tunnel machine

The public are being invited to name a 2,000-ton boring machine that will start digging HS2 tunnels.

TheLong Itchington Wood portal site
TheLong Itchington Wood portal site

The tunnel will run under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire

There are three shortlisted names nominated by people in Warwickshire:Anne - named after Anne Hathaway; Dorothy - for Dorothy Hodgkin, who in 1964 became the first British woman to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry and Mary Ann for Mary Ann Evans, better known by her pen name George Eliot.

The tunnel boring machine will launch later this year and start its year-long journey to create a one-mile twin bore tunnel to preserve ancient woodland above ground.

The public can vote for their favourite name at

Over 180 suggestions were submitted by people in Warwickshire, who were asked to nominate the names of women closely associated with the county.

The vote is now open, with the online competition running until the end of June.

HS2’s civils director Mike Lyons said: “The naming of this TBM marks a crucial milestone for the project, with the tunnel under Long Itchington Wood the first significant piece of Britain’s new high speed railway to be built in the Midlands. The 170 engineers working on the TBM during its construction and assembly are amongst the 16,000 people employed by the project.

“I’d like to thank people in Warwickshire for suggesting a great selection of interesting and inspiring women who have such a close connection with the county. I look forward to finding out who the British public choose as the winning name later in the summer.”

The Long Itchington Wood TBM will be operated by HS2’s main works contractor for the West Midlands, Balfour Beatty Vinci.

The machine, which has been manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht, will be around 10 metres wide.

This is the third HS2 tunnel boring machine that will be put to a public vote to name it, with the first two machines already tunnelling under the Chilterns. They were named after two famous local Buckinghamshire women: Florence Nightingale - the founder of modern nursing who spent many years living in Buckinghamshire; and pioneering astronomer and astrophysicist, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, who was born in Buckinghamshire.

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