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TUNNEL BORING MACHINES

Purple Line Extension Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM)

We’re having another set of twins!

The Purple Line Extension Transit Project is welcoming the last two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) to its TBM family! The new additions will join the Section 1 TBMs Elsie and Soyeon and the Section 2 TBMs Harriet and Ruth in LA.

The Section 3 TBMs will be responsible for the last leg of the journey, digging tunnels from the VA Hospital Campus in West LA to Westwood/UCLA.

Their work will be critical to completing the Purple Line Extension subway for the LA 2028 Olympics so let’s give them the best of luck!

The Purple Line Extension, Section 3 Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) will be digging two parallel tunnels between Westwood and the VA Hospital.

Traditionally, TBMs can't start work until they are given names. TBMs are generally named after women as a sign of good luck for the project ahead. Historically, tunnellers looked to Saint Barbara for protection; she is the patron saint for military engineers, miners and others who work underground. And we're looking for your help to name our two TBMs building the tunnels between Westwood and the VA Hospital.

But, before sending our TBMs along their journey into the earth, we would also like to adorn them with special artwork that is representative of the local community they will be tunneling under.

Metro is inviting Los Angeles County residents to participate in the art and naming contest for the TBMs.

The contest is divided into two categories:

  • The naming contest will be open to U.S. Veterans and UCLA affiliates, each affiliation will name 1 of 2 TBMs.
  • The art contest will be open to all Los Angeles county residents who will compete to illustrate their ideal community with the Purple Line Extension.

Enter today and make history!
Naming Contest Submission Form
Art Contest Submission Form

Follow the Purple Line Extension TBMs journey into the Earth on Twitter @PurpleLineTBMs .


Elsie and Soyeon, the twin Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) for the Purple Line Extension Section 1 are currently digging two parallel tunnels that will connect three new stations between Koreatown and Beverly Hills.

They started their tunneling journey Fall 2018 at Wilshire/La Brea Station in Miracle Mile and will continue towards Wilshire/Western Station in Koreatown. Once they reach the current Purple Line terminus, they will be dissembled for transporting back to Wilshire/La Brea Station and then reassembled for the last leg of their journey through Wilshire/Fairfax Station and finishing at Wilshire/La Cienega Station in Beverly Hills.

Purple Line Extension Section 1 TBM breakthrough at Wilshire/Western on June 28, 2019

The Section 2 TBMs, Harriet and Ruth, will start their tunneling journey in Spring 2020 from Century City/Constellation Station and head east towards Wilshire/Rodeo Station in Beverly Hills and link up with the Section 1 tunnels at Wilshire/La Cienega Station.

Purple Line Extension Section 2 TBMs

While the Section 3 TBMs, which have yet to be named, will start their tunneling journey in 2021 from the VA Hospital Campus in West LA and head east towards the Westwood/UCLA Station. The TBMs will link with the Section 2 tunnels in Century City.

For more information about the TBMs check out the fact sheets .
Follow the @PurpleLineTBMs on Twitter for weekly updates on their progress and more.


The Purple Line Extension Section 1 Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs), Elsie and Soyeon, are currently digging under Wilshire Bl. They will construct two parallel tunnels to create a seamless connection from the current Purple Line terminus at Wilshire/Western Station in Koreatown to three new stations located at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega.

Elsie and Soyeon are responsible for building 17,845 linear feet of tunnels to create approximately 3.9 miles of new subway. They have completed Reach 1 and 2 and are on their way to completing Reach 3.

Harriet and Ruth, the Purple Line Extension Section 2 TBMs, will be building the connection between the Wilshire/La Cienega and Wilshire/Rodeo Stations in Beverly Hills and the Century City/Constellation Station. They will build approximately 2.6 miles of new subway and will be creating 13,630 linear feet of tunnels. Harriet and Ruth are expected to start tunneling Spring 2020.

The last two sets of TBMs for Purple Line Extension Section 3 are on their way to Los Angeles. They will be building the tunnels between the VA Hospital Campus in West LA and Westwood/UCLA. The TBMs which have not yet been named yet will be adding the last 2.56 miles of new subway and will be creating 13,461 linear feet of tunnels. There is currently an Art and Naming contest to honor the two machines before they are put to work. The TBMs are anticipated to start their tunneling journey Winter 2021.

Along the way, all TBMs will encounter different soil conditions. The tunnel crown will always be at least 20 feet or more under the subsurface water table.

In terms of geology, tunnels will be bored through two types of geological formations: San Pedro and Fernando.

Tunneling Statistics

Progress is measured in total linear feet traveled.

Section 1 Tunneling

Reach

Linear Feet

Location

1

9,570

La Brea Bl to Western Av

2

4,440

La Brea Bl to Fairfax Av

3

3,280

Fairfax Av to La Cienega Bl

4

555

La Cienega Bl to tail track west of La Cienega Bl

Section 2 Tunneling

Reach

Linear Feet

Location

4

6,610

Reeves Dr to La Cienega Bl

5

7,020

Constellation Bl to Reeves Dr

Section 3 Tunneling

Reach

Linear Feet

Location

6

7,589

VA Hospital Campus to Wilshire Bl

7

5,872

Wilshire Bl to Constellation Bl


Please use the materials below to learn more about the Purple Line Extension Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs).

Fact Sheets

Follow the @PurpleLineTBMs on Twitter for weekly updates on their progress and more.


Art Contest

To celebrate the arrival of the tunnel boring machines that will be digging the path from Westwood to the VA Hospital, we invite you to draw your ideal community with the Purple Line Extension subway. Winners will receive prizes and countywide recognition.

Submit your entry by July 30, 2020.

How do I enter?

  • Create one piece of artwork that shows what your ideal community looks like with the Purple Line Extension subway.
  • You can submit a painting, a drawing, or a collage.
  • Your entry must be no larger than 8.5” x 11” and lay flat.
  • The art contest is open to all Los Angeles county residents.
  • Submit your entry by July 30, 2020.
  • Please submit your entry via the online form .
  • You can also submit your entry by mail to:

    Purple Line Extension Project Office
    Attn: Community Relations, Glyssa Robles
    1888 Century Park East, 8th Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90067
  • If submitting a digital copy of your artwork, you must keep the original copy of your artwork until the voting period is over (September 20, 2020). Winners must submit their original artwork to Metro via postal mail for reproduction.
  • The winner will receive recognition at the Section 3 Purple Line Extension Tunnel Boring Machine Unveiling Ceremony, a commemorative TAP card with their artwork and additional prizes!

The winning artwork will be chosen by a panel of judges and LA County voters. Polls will open on August 20, 2020, and will close September 20, 2020.


Naming Contest

Section 3 of the Purple Line Extension is connecting DTLA to Westwood and will bring you to the LA 2028 Olympic Games. To celebrate the arrival of the tunnel boring machines that will be digging the path, we invite you to name them. Winners will receive prizes and countywide recognition.

Submit your entry by July 30, 2020.

Why do we name our TBMs?

Traditionally, TBMs cannot start work until they are given a name. TBMs are generally named after women as a sign of good luck for the project ahead. Historically, workers looked to Saint Barbara for protection; she is the patron saint for military engineers, miners and others who work underground.

How do I enter?

  • Submit an essay of 200 words (or less) or 2-minute (or less) video explaining the reasoning behind your chosen names for the TBMs.
  • Tell us about the significance of the name you have chosen and how it relates to your community, transportation or engineering. Have fun and be creative, witty and clever!
  • Your names can be real or fictional. All entries must be female names or characters.
  • The naming contest will be open only to U.S. Veterans and UCLA affiliates, each affiliation will name 1 of 2 TBMs.
  • Spouses, children, or family members of UCLA or VA affiliates are not eligible.
  • Submit your entry by July 30, 2020.
  • Please submit your entry via the online form .
  • You can also submit your entry by mail to:

    Purple Line Extension Project Office
    Attn: Community Relations, Glyssa Robles
    1888 Century Park East, 8th Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90067

The winner will receive recognition at the Purple Line Extension Section 3 Tunnel Boring Machines Unveiling Ceremony, a commemorative Metro TAP card with the winning names and additional prizes!