PEOPLE in Ealing, Brent and beyond are being asked to name the next two tunnel boring machines that will dig the HS2 rail route under the capital.

Early next year, HS2 will launch the two machines that will construct the Northolt Tunnel East, travelling through Brent and Ealing.

The borers will set off towards Greenpark Way in Greenford, travelling 3.4miles from HS2’s Victoria Road site, close to the new Old Oak Common station.

As per convention, they will be named after influential women and HS2 is asking the public to vote for two names from a shortlist of five with connections to Ealing.

Naming helps communities remember and celebrate great local woman from all walks of life. The names on the shortlist are:

  • Amy Barbour-James (1906 -1988) – Amy was born in Acton to Guyanese parents and was active in the civil rights movement. She was involved in the African Progress Union and the League of Coloured Peoples, becoming secretary of the latter in 1942.
  • Lady Anne Byron (1792 – 1860) – Lady Byron was an educational reformer and philanthropist. In 1834, she established Ealing Grove School – the first for the working classes, in an era when education was mainly for the wealthy.
  • Brigid Brophy (1929 – 1995) – Ealing-born Brigid was a British writer and campaigner 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) – Emily was a midwife, providing services for women who could not afford care, and became Ealing’s first female mayor in 1938. She helped establish Perivale Maternity Hospital in 1937.
  • Susan Mary Smee (1859 – 1949) – Susan became Acton’s first female mayor in 1924, the first Justice of Peace and the first curator of Gunnersbury Park Museum.

The selected names will be displayed on the side of the boring machines, which are to be lowered into a shaft ready to start work in the autumn.

The tunnel they are building will be 8.4miles in total, stretching from Old Oak Common station to West Ruislip. The other five miles of the tunnel is under construction with two further borers, Sushila and Caroline, already one mile into their journey.

Voting is open until Monday, September 4.