According to a long-standing tradition (which, admittedly, we’ve only just heard about), a tunnel boring machine cannot start operation until it’s been given a name.
Crossrail is looking for suggestions for six of its giant tunnelling machines. The beasts weigh 1,000 tonnes and are 140 metres long. They work in pairs, so need to be named in pairs. And the names have to be female. If you think you’re onto a winner, send your suggestions in via this form. We’re also told ‘History, geography, architecture/ landmarks, transportation or names of famous Londoners might make good names’. You have until 6 February to submit your ideas.
The winner will receive £500 of Eurostar vouchers or a 1 Merlin Annual Family Pass, as well as the opportunity to watch the first machine bore into the earth in March. More details about the tunnelling machines here.
Those seeking inspiration could do worse than heading to Cutty Sark station on the DLR, whose mid-level hall contains the cutter head from a previous boring machine.