Cast your vote to name the Crenshaw/LAX tunnel boring machine

More than 200 entries have been received since Metro announced the tunnel boring machine naming contest in June, and now we’re down to just 10 finalists. Which name will end up on the side of the TBM that will be digging the Crenshaw/LAX tunnels? That’s up to you!

The ten finalists are:

  • Lorena (Lorena Weaver)
  • Sojourner (Sojourner Truth)
  • Maya (Maya Angelou)
  • Eleanor (Eleanor Roosevelt)
  • Harriet (Harriet Tubman)
  • M.A.C. (Make A Change)
  • Sally (Sally Ride)
  • The Africana
  • Rosa (Rosa Parks)
  • Athena

Cast your vote here.

Here’s the press release from Metro:

The public is invited to help select the winners of a contest to choose a name and art work for the tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will soon begin digging twin tunnels for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project.

The top 10 name finalists are Lorena (Lorena Weaver), Sojourner (Sojourner Truth), Maya (Maya Angelou), Eleanor (Eleanor Roosevelt), Harriet (Harriet Tubman), M.A.C. (Make A Change), Sally (Sally Ride), The Africana, Rosa (Rosa Parks) and Athena. To see the art work visit and cast your vote for a name and art work now through Dec. 1.

More than 200 entries were received since June, 2015, when the contest began.

Naming a TBM with a female name is a mining tradition that dates back to the 14th century. Saint Barbara is the patron of miners — protecting them as they work underground. This homage evolved into the tradition of naming tunneling machines before the digging projects begin.

The contest was divided into two categories. Students from K to 5th Grade submitted drawings and for the naming contest students from 6th to 12th Grade submitted a 200-word essay or a 2-minute video. The prizes for both categories will be TAP cards loaded with fare valued at $300, $200 or $100.

The committee that selected the top 10 names and top 10 drawings included representatives from Metro, representatives from L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas office, Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors (WSCC) staff and the Crenshaw Community Leadership Council (CLC). The public now can participate by voting for their favorite name and art work.

The winning name and art work will be displayed on the side of the huge TBM machine during the lowering ceremony in early 2016. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas will award the 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 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.

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 Expo/Crenshaw, Martin Luther King Jr. and Leimert Park stations. When the TBM reaches the last underground station it will be disassembled and transported by truck back to Crenshaw/Expo station where it will begin digging the second tunnel.

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. It is expected to open in 2019.

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.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at,, and and

8 replies

  1. […] K-12 students were invited to submit artwork for display on the TBM and essays or videos with suggested names. The top 10 name finalists are Lorena (Weaver), Sojourner (Truth), Maya (Angelou), Eleanor (Roosevelt), Harriet (Tubman), M.A.C. (Make A Change), Sally (Ride), The Africana, Rosa (Parks), and Athena. Voting is open through December 1.  Vote for your favorite name and artwork here. Read more about the project in The Source. […]

  2. Maya Angelou was once a street car operator in SF. That is missing from the little bio-sketch.

  3. Can the voting be added to the home page of the Crenshaw Project Metro website? It’s a little difficult to get to without already having the link. It should be front and center on the website.

  4. Who is Lorena Weaver?

    (Honestly, I have trouble understanding everybody’s fascination [my own included] with mechanical moles. After all, they’re just big boring machines.)

    • If you click the link to vote, it also gives you some background on the names chosen. 🙂

      Lorena (Lorena Weaver)
      Thomas, Pasadena High School

      A First In LA- In the 1940’s, World War II caused many men to go to war. These men left their jobs, lives, and families to serve this great country. Because of this, many opportunities became available. One of these jobs was a bus operator. In September of 1942, the Los Angeles Railway (a predecessor to the LACMTA) began hiring woman to operate buses. These women were called Motormanetts. One of these ladies was Lorena Weaver. She was among the first women to operate buses in Los Angeles. This was a historic first, as it was thought to be a male job. Another milestone was that she was African-American, opening up new pathways to women of color.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source