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HS2 launches national vote to name Warwickshire Tunnel Boring Machine

We have today launched a national vote to name our third Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) which is set to create a one-mile twin bore tunnel under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire .

Long Itchington Wood Tunnel north portal site aerial view

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

Anne - named after Anne Hathaway, who was the wife of the country’s most famous playwright William Shakespeare. 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. Anne was suggested by a Nuneaton resident.

Dorothy - 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. She died in 1994 in Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire. Dorothy was suggested by a student at Warwickshire College Group.

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. A North Leamington School pupil suggested Mary Ann.

Please vote for your favourite name

The Long Itchington Wood TBM will begin tunnelling later this year and be operated by our main works contractor for the West Midlands, Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV). The 2,000-tonne TBM, manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht, will be around 10 metres wide and will take about five months to complete the first bore of two parallel tunnels.

The Long Itchington Wood tunnel avoids disrupting the ancient woodland located above the tunnelling works. Once the first bore is complete, the TBM will be extracted at the South Portal before being transported by road back to the North Portal to commence the second bore. The final section will become a ‘green tunnel’ - also known as a cut and cover tunnel - where a soil ‘roof’ is built around the tunnel entrance to integrate the portal into the natural landscape.

This is the third of our TBMs 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.

The national vote will close at the end of June, with the winner expected to be announced later in the summer.

If you have a question about HS2 or our works, please contact our HS2 Helpdesk team on 08081 434 434 or email

Posted on 9th June 2021

by HS2 in Birmingham