Public vote opens to name Crossrail TBMs

Aaron Morby 12 years ago

Crossrail has received a huge response to its competition to name six of the tunnel boring machines.

The competition has attracted nearly 2,500 entries from across London and the UK with a huge selection of imaginative ideas for the three pairs of machines.

A shortlist of women’s names has been selected by a Crossrail panel, which will now pass to a public vote.

The proposed names are inspired by London life, Great Britons like Dickens and Brunel, Olympic medal winners and, oh, Peggy and Pat from EastEnders.

Public voting on the shortlist is now open, and will close on 29 Feb 2012. To vote, visit

The ten pairs of names are:

Nancy, Nell

Characters from Charles Dickens novels – Oliver Twist and Little Nell from The Old Curiosity Shop.

Matilda, Millie

Matilda was the wife of William the Conqueror. Millie comes from the old English name Millicent which means ‘Strength’.

Victoria, Elizabeth

Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.

Bobbie, Phyllis

Characters from The Railway Children, Roberta (Bobbie) and Phyllis.

Ada, Phyllis

Ada Lovelace was one of the earliest computer scientists. She worked with Charles Babbage on his “analytical engine”. Phyllis Pearsall single-handedly created the London A-Z.

Pat, Peggy

Characters from EastEnders – Peggy Mitchell and Pat Butcher.

Gracie, Vera

Named after Gracie Fields and Vera Lynn – who epitomized the British ‘Blitz Spirit’.

Mary, Sophia

Mary was the wife of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Sophia was the wife of Marc Isambard Brunel who built the first tunnel under the Thames.

Dorothy, Audrey

Medal winning British sprinters Dorothy Manley and Audrey Williamson who competed in the 1948 London Olympics.

Betsy Dora

Characters from the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield – Betsy Trotwood and Dora.

The winning names will be painted onto the tunnel boring machines prior to their launch.

Prizes will be awarded to the three entrants who receive the most votes as well as three lucky voters.

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 this year, the second pair of machines will launch from Limmo in Docklands driving 5.2 miles west towards Farringdon via Whitechapel and Liverpool Street. I

In the winter, two TBMs will be launched from Plumstead travelling 1.6 miles and under the River Thames to North Woolwich.

The winning entrants and three voters will have the option of a prize of either Eurostar vouchers or an annual family pass to Merlin Theme Parks, which have been donated by Crossrail’s tunneling and delivery contractors.

Those who have named the machines will also be invited to attend the tunneling launch event at Royal Oak.

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