Meet ‘Mary’ the Tunnel Boring Machine

How our tunnel boring machine got her name

In the summer of 2017 we visited Goxhill and Paull primary schools to introduce our project to pupils and ask for their help in coming up with a name for our Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM).

We were really delighted with the response and received some excellent suggestions, from which our Lead Project Manager, Steve Ellison, chose the name ‘Mary’. Mary turned out to be the perfect name for our TBM as it is not only female, which is TBM tradition, but it also had a strong link to construction, science and engineering.

Kacey Doney, a year 3 pupil at Paull Primary School, came up with the name based on Mary Fergusson OBE. Mary was a pioneering British civil engineer and was the first female fellow of the institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

We invited Kacey, along with her family, to see Mary all assembled before she starts the big dig beneath the River Humber to Paull on the north bank.

The tunnel boring machine is a highly specialised piece of kit and essential to our project as she will dig the five kilometre long tunnel under the River Humber. Unsurprisingly, she is an extremely complex and large piece of equipment – over 160 metres long when fully assembled!

Mary was made in Germany and will be assembled at our main construction site at Goxhill ready for starting the big dig beneath the River in Spring 2018.? Her main sections were delivered to our Goxhill site in early December.

While at the schools we were keen to explain more about the work to replace the existing gas pipeline and keep gas flowing to millions of people throughout the UK and to encourage the children’s interest in engineering.? Pupils also got to try a 3D virtual walk through the tunnel construction site with the virtual reality headsets that are being used to train the team who working on the tunnel construction.

  • Cover image courtesy of James Wright at Double Red