You can help choose name for HS2 tunnel boring machine

HS2 has launched a public vote to name a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) which will create a one-mile twin bore tunnel in Warwickshire.

The TBM is HS2’s third machine and will dig under Long Itchington Wood.

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Three names have been shortlisted from over 180 entries submitted by people in Warwickshire, who were asked to nominate the names of women closely associated with the county.

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


Named after the wife of the country’s most famous playwright William Shakespear, Anne Hathaway.

She was born in 1556 and her childhood home nearby in Stratford-upon-Avon was bought by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in 1892 and turned into a museum.

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Named after Dorothy Hodgkin, who in 1964 became the first British woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her discoveries included confirming the structure of penicillin, and her work with insulin paved the way for it to be used on a large scale for treatment of diabetes.

Mary Ann

Named after Mary Ann Evans, better known by her pen name George Eliot, who was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era.

She was born in Nuneaton and her novels, most famously ‘Middlemarch’, are celebrated for their realism and psychological insights.

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The Long Itchington Wood TBM will begin tunnelling under Warwickshire later this year and will be operated by HS2’s main works contractor for the West Midlands, Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV).

The 2,000-tonne tunnel boring machine, which has been manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht, will be around 10 metres wide and will take around five months to complete the first bore of two parallel tunnels.

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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.”

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.

Visit the HS2 website to vote for the third TBM.

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