THE names of the next pair of tunnel boring machines building the HS2 rail line under the capital were unveiled today (24).

Following a public vote, the names Emily and Anne were chosen, named after female icons from history.

Major components of the first machine have now been lifted into the 25-metre-deep shaft at the HS2 site in Ealing.

Emily is named after Emily Sophia Taylor who lived between 1872 and 1956. She was a midwife who provided services for women who could not afford maternity care.

She helped establish Perivale Maternity Hospital in 1937 before becoming Ealing’s first female mayor in 1938.

The second is named after Lady Anne Byron, an educational reformer and philanthropist who lived between 1792 and 1860.

She established Ealing Grove School in 1834 – England’s first co-operative school which provided education for the working classes.

After being lowered underground in pieces, they will need to be reassembled.

The machines are earth pressure balance TBMs, designed specifically for the soft ground conditions, specifically London clay.

The machines will begin the 3.4mile journey at the start of 2024, travelling under Ealing from the Victoria Road site towards Greenpark Way in Greenford, taking around a year to complete the journey.

At Greenpark Way, the machines will be disassembled and removed via another 35-metre shaft.

The first two tunnel borers, Sushila and Caroline are one year into constructing the 8.4 mile section of tunnel between West Ruislip and Victoria Road, just outside Old Oak Common.

This section of tunnelling will complete the 8.4mile-long Northolt tunnel, which is being built in two sections.

Two machines are already boring the western end of the tunnel, beginning in West Ruislip, working towards Greenford with almost two miles completed so far. Emily and Anne will bore the eastern section.

The final section of tunnel from Victoria Road Crossover Box to connect to Old Oak Common Station will be constructed using spray concrete lining.