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HS2 opens TBM naming competition


HS2 (High Speed Two) Ltd is asking the public to choose names for the next two TBMs that will be launched in early 2024 to dig the Northolt Tunnel East travelling through Brent and Ealing. The TBMs will set off towards Greenpark Way in Greenford, travelling 5.47 km (3.4miles) from HS2’s Victoria Road site, near to new Old Oak Common station.  

The TBMs will be named after influential women and HS2 is asking the public to vote for two names from the following shortlist of five with connections to Ealing:  

Amy Barbour-James (1906 -1988), born in Acton to Guyanese parents and active in the civil rights movement. She was involved in the African Progress Unionand the League of Coloured Peoples, becoming secretary of the latter in 1942.  

Lady Anne Byron (1792 – 1860),  an educational reformer and philanthropist. In 1834 she established the Ealing Grove School – the first school for the working classes, in an era when education was mainly for the wealthy.  

Brigid Brophy (1929 – 1995) a writer and campaigner - born in Ealing - whose work focused on social reform, homosexual parity, animal rights and humanism. She helped establish the Public Lending Right, allowing authors to claim a payment every time their book was borrowed from a public library.  

Emily Sophia Taylor (1872 - 1956), a midwife, providing services for women who could not afford care, and became Ealing’s first female mayor in 1938. She was an active member of the Education Committee and the Child Welfare Committee and helped establish the Perivale Maternity Hospital in 1937.  

Susan Mary Smee (1859 – 1949), the Acton’s first female mayor in 1924, the first Justice of Peace and the first curator of Gunnersbury Park Museum. She is described as a pioneer who helped other women to follow her example.  

The selected names will be displayed on the side of the TBMs which are to be lowered into a shaft ready to tunnel in the Autumn. Before launch, there will be a ceremony to bless the TBMs featuring a statue of St Barbara, the patron saint of tunnelling, conducted by a local priest.  

The two TBMs - 170 m long and over 1,700 t in weight - will be operated by Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture.  

The tunnel they are building will be 13.52 km (8.4 miles) in total, stretching from Old Oak Common station to West Ruislip. The other 8,05 km (5 miles) of the tunnel is under construction with two further TBMs, Sushila and Caroline, already 1.6 km (one mile) into their journey.  

The voting is open from Monday 21st August until Monday 4th September 2023: click here to vote. For further information click here and uk/65 for tunnelbuilder archive and visit https://www.hs2.org.uk/. 34/23.