New contest! Help Metro name and illustrate the tunnel boring machine for Crenshaw/LAX Line!

Attention all students, from Kindergarten through 12th grade:  Metro is inviting you to participate in a naming and illustration contest for the new Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) which will be use to dig the twin tunnels for the Crenshaw/LAX Line.

The winning name and illustration will be displayed on the huge TBM. Metro will hold a ceremony when the TBM will be lowered into the ground and begins working southbound from the future Crenshaw/Expo Station. There will be prizes for first, second and third place in both the naming and illustration categories. The deadline to enter is Sept. 1.

Please see this page to learn more about the TBM and for links to both the art and naming contests.

Good luck! Here is the official press release with all the details:

Metro is inviting students from kindergarten through 12th grade to participate in a naming and illustration contest for the new Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) that will dig twin tunnels to connect three underground stations of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project.

The contest has two categories:
• Students from K through 5th grade will compete to illustrate the TBM. Click here to enter!
• Students from 6th through 12th grade will compete to choose a name. Click here to enter!

To participate in the illustration contest, students need only submit their drawings. For the naming contest, students must submit a 200-word essay or a two-minute video. The prizes for both categories will be TAP cards loaded with fare value of $300, $200 or $100. The selection committee will include representatives from Metro, Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors (WSCC) and the Crenshaw Community Leadership Council (CLC), however the public also will be invited to vote in support of the name and illustration of their choice.

The winning TBM name and illustration will be displayed on the side of the huge TBM machine during the lowering ceremony in late 2015. At that time L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who then will be the Metro Board Chair, will recognize the students and award prizes to the winners. A special commemorative TAP card will be personalized with the winning illustration and name.

The TBM was manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht AG. It weighs 950 tons, is 400 feet long and is 21 1/2 feet in diameter. It will dig 60 feet per day and take 1 year to excavate a 1-mile tunnel equaling 10,500 feet or nearly 30 football fields. Here is a video that explains how a TBM works:

The Expo Yard, located at the northeast corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Rodeo Road, is one of the staging areas for construction of the new light-rail project. This is where the first Crenshaw/Expo underground station will be located and where the TBM will begin its southbound journey, boring the tunnel that will connect the Crenshaw/MLK and Crenshaw/Vernon stations.

When the TBM reaches the last underground station it will be disassembled and transported by truck back to Crenshaw/Expo where it will begin digging the second tunnel.

Naming of the TBM is a mining tradition that dates back to early times. Since the 14th Century, Saint Barbara has been the patron of miners protecting them when they are working underground. This homage to saints evolved into the commemorative naming of tunneling machines with a female name before the digging begins.

For further information on the naming and drawing or illustration contest visit The contest begins today Wednesday, June 24 and students will have until Sept 1 to submit entries by e-mail to or by mail to Metro Crenshaw/LAX Project Office, Att: TBM Contest, 3699 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046.

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line is a $2.058 billion light-rail line that will connect the Green Line and the Expo Line. It will have eight new stations to serve the Crenshaw, Inglewood and LAX communities.

All construction activities, dates and times are subject to change. For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project go to or join us on Facebook at and on Twitter at or call the project hotline (213) 922-2736.

2 replies

  1. […] The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CA) is digging a pair of tunnels for the Crenshaw/LAX line and the agency is inviting students to participate in a contest. Students from Kindergarten through fifth grade will compete to illustrate the tunnel boring machine, and students from sixth through twelfth grade will compete to name the TBM. Need inspiration? Check out this Twitter convo.  Link to full story in The Source. […]