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It's Time to Name The Machine That Will Dig Metro's Regional Connector

(Photo by Sterling Davis via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Oh Harriet, we barely knew you. The 950-ton tunnel boring machine—named after Harriet Tubman—is only two months into the job on the Crenshaw/LAX Line, but naming is already underway for Metro's next digging dynamo. The soon-to-be-named new tunnel boring machine will commence on Metro's Regional Connector in the fall, burrowing an underground tunnel from 1st and Alameda in Little Tokyo to 4th and Flower in the Financial District, before returning to Little Tokyo to dig a second tunnel to the Financial District. The Regional Connector will connect the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station to downtown L.A.'s 7th St/Metro Center, linking up the Gold, Blue and Expo lines and adding three new stations downtown.


(Image courtesy of Metro)
Perhaps most importantly, the extension will allow for what Metro calls a "one-seat ride" across L.A. County—meaning you'll be able to travel from Azusa to Long Beach and/or East L.A. to Santa Monica without ever getting out of your seat. Unfortunately, tunnel boring machines are even slower than the 405 at rush hour (our yet-to-be-named friend will travel through the earth at roughly 4 inches per minute), so don't expect that one-seat ride anytime soon. The Regional Connector is forecasted to open in 2020.

In the meantime, Metro will be taking name suggestions from K-12 students until April 15, 2016. Names can be real or fictional, but all must be female. The tradition of naming digging equipment after women has been a thing since the 1500s, according to the L.A. Times. Other notable lady digging machines include San Francisco's Mom Chung, D.C.'s Lady Bird, and of course Seattle's infamous Big Bertha. The press-friendly Harriet's moniker was chosen by Inglewood 11th grader Calvin Mosley, and yes, she has her own Twitter account.

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Note: This post has been corrected to reflect that the naming contest is open to all K-12 students, not just middle and high school students.

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