Being the sort of person who prefers rather bland factual descriptions, the idea of giving a cute name to a mechanical device seems a rather odd concept.

However, as the vast majority of people disagree with my eminently superior opinions on this matter, Crossrail are to give cute names to their giant Tunnel Boring Machines.

Like ships (and hurricanes), TBMs are traditionally given female names.

Instead of TBM 1, TBM 2, etc, we will be told about the digging progress of Sarah, Kathie and Pippa. Hopefully, more London specific than that though.

Londoners are also being given a chance to name the TBMs.

The eight digging machines will travel in pairs, so you are encouraged to suggest a couple of female names for each pair of machines.

A Crossrail panel will review all entries and draw up a shortlist of their favourite names and each of the shortlisted entries will be notified by email. The list will then be published and the public will be asked to vote for their favourite pair of names (expect a LOT of begging requests for votes on Facebook).

The voting will run until 29 February and the three entries that have received the most votes will be invited to the tunnel launch event in March 2012.

Enter the competition here before 6th Feb 2012.

I’ll probably enter – might be fun to find something obscure to suggest.

Rather more details about the TMBs over at London Reconnections.


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  1. martin says:

    I find this sort of thing really boring.

  2. martin says:

    (b’dum tish)

  3. Jordan D says:

    Hurricanes aren’t given *only* female names: In the Atlantic, they alternate male/female and each year, the ‘A’ name is alternated male/female. Previously the list of names repeated about every 5 years, with ‘big’ hurricanes meaning a name is removed (so in theory, no more Andrew or Katrina, for example).

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