Londoners and people living along route are being invited to dream up pairs of names for the tunnel boring machines.
A small panel of contractors will select a shortlist before the public is invited to vote online for their favourite pairs of names next month.
Prizes will be awarded to the three entrants who receive the most votes.
Similar to sea going ships, tunnel boring machines are given female names. And it is traditional that all machines are named before tunnelling starts for good luck.
Prizes have been donated by delivery partner Bechtel and the joint venture tunnelling consortia. These are: BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Kier Construction (BFK); Dragados and John Sisk; and Hochitef and Murphy & Sons.
This spring, the first two 140m long TBMs weighing 1,000 tonnes will travel 4 miles east from Royal Oak via Paddington, Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road before reaching Farringdon in summer 2013.
Later in the year, the second pair of machines will launch from Limmo in Docklands driving 5.2 miles west towards Farringdon via Whitechapel and Liverpool Street.
In the winter, two TBMs will be launched from Plumstead travelling 1.6 miles and under the River Thames to North Woolwich.
Andy Mitchell, Crossrail Programme Director said: “In years to come the winners of the competition will be able to travel on Crossrail and not only say they named the machines that built the tunnels but that they watched history unfold as tunnelling started.”
The winning entrants will have the option of a prize of either Eurostar vouchers or an annual family pass to Merlin Theme Parks.
Winners will also be invited to attend the tunnelling launch event at Royal Oak.
Names can be submitted at www.crossrail.co.uk/tunnel-comp by 6 February 2012.