High Wycombe students name tunnel boring machine after brave classmate

Salini Impregilo-NRW Joint Venture project director Richard Graham, at centre, talks to the special guests at the Forrestfield-Airport Link tunnel borer naming event. Picture: David Baylis d470889
Salini Impregilo-NRW Joint Venture project director Richard Graham, at centre, talks to the special guests at the Forrestfield-Airport Link tunnel borer naming event. Picture: David Baylis d470889

HIGH Wycombe students have named two tunnel boring machines working on the Forrestfield-Airport Link.

One machine is called Grace to honour Edney Primary School student Grace McPhee. The name was nominated by her classmates.

The students said Grace, who was undergoing treatment for leukaemia, was the toughest person they knew – a toughness the machine would need to bore through the earth.

The machine decorated with artwork by Year 6 Walliston Primary School student Georgia Fields was unveiled this morning and is due to start digging in July.

The second machine, which will begin work in September, will be named Sandy – suggested by High Wycombe Primary School Year 4 student Sarah Spratt.

Sarah was inspired after finding a sandgroper in her backyard, as the local insect is “excellent at tunnelling, like the TBM”.

It will be decorated with artwork by Rossmoyne Primary School Year 5 students Faith Brand and Jood Al Jashammi.

Sarah Spratt (9) of High Wycombe, Georgia Fields (11) of Pickering Brook, Grace McPhee (5) of High Wycombe , Faith Brand (10) of Rossmoyne and Jood Al Jashammi (10) of Rossmoyne with the tunnel borer named after Grace. Picture: David Baylis d470889

More than 100 students entered a competition to name and decorate two tunnel boring machines.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced the five winners at the future Forrestfield Station site on June 26.

“I’m thrilled to announce the winners of the competition to name and decorate the $20 million machines,” she said.

“It’s a worldwide custom to give a TBM a female name before it starts its important work to bring good luck to the project.

“I’m particularly delighted that the winners are all young students from the region who will undoubtedly grow up using the Forrestfield-Airport Link once it is completed in 2020.”

Each machine will dig 8km of 7m diameter tunnels, including under Perth Airport and the Swan River.

They will take two years to make the journey underground to Bayswater, where the rail link will spur off the Midland line.

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