Pupils at The Chalfonts Community College in Chalfont St Peter and at the Meadow High School in Hillingdon helped name two giant Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) that will excavate the twin-bore Chiltern tunnel on the first phase of HS2 rail link.
The students named the machines Florence and Cecilia, a tribute to two female innovators.
Florence is after nurse Florence Nightingale and Cecilia after astronomer and astrophysicist Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin.
Around 4,500 people from across the UK took part in the poll to select the final names, with Florence taking 40 per cent of the vote and Cecilia a close second with 32 per cent.
The excavators will create a 10-mile tunnel through part of the Chilterns, from a site near the M25 to near South Heath in Buckinghamshire.
HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said:
“These impressive tunnel boring machines will be instrumental in delivering the first stage of this transformative rail line between London and the West Midlands, and it is fitting that they bear the names Florence and Cecilia, two iconic women from this area whose achievements remain famous today.
“HS2 will provide better, more reliable connections that truly level up our country, boosting economic growth and sharing opportunities. I want to thank all the students who played a role in this milestone moment, and who will benefit from this high-speed railway for years to come.”
HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Mark Thurston said:
“The launch of our first tunnelling machines will be a defining moment in the history of HS2 – and our work to deliver a low carbon, high speed railway that will change the way we travel in the UK.”