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Metro Invites L.A. County Students to Participate in Art and Naming Contest for Metro Purple Line Section 2 Project Tunnel Boring Machines

Friday January 18, 2019

Los Angeles County students from kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to help the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) choose a name and artwork for the Purple Line Extension’s second of set of tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will be burrowing 2.6 miles underneath Century City and Beverly Hills.

Tunneling for this second project section is expected to begin later this year and end in 2022. Two new TBMs will soon join Elsie and Soyeon, the Purple Line Extension’s first two TBMs now digging twin tunnels on the first four-mile subway segment between Koreatown and Beverly Hills. Tunneling work there has already started and will continue until 2020.

Students from Kindergarten through 5th grade can compete in the art contest by submitting an illustration for their ideal community with the Purple Line Extension.

Students from 6th through 12th grade can compete in the naming contest and choose two preferred names for each of the new TBMs. Students must also submit a 200-word essay or a two-minute video as part of the entry.

Submissions for both the TBM art and naming contests will be accepted between now and March 15, 2019. A selection committee of elected officials and community members will judge the contests and make their top selections. After the committee deliberates, L.A. County residents will be invited to cast their own votes in support of the final art and naming contest contestants.

The winning TBM artwork and names will be displayed on the side of the huge TBM machines during an unveiling ceremony planned for this summer. Metro will recognize students and award prizes during the ceremony. Winners will also receive a special commemorative Metro TAP card with the winning names and artwork and additional prizes.

Naming of the TBMs is a mining tradition that dates to early times. Since the 14th Century, Saint Barbara has been the patron of miners, protecting them when they are working underground. This homage to saints evolved into the commemorative naming of tunneling machines with female names before the digging begins.

The Metro Purple Line Extension is one of the highest priority transit projects now under construction in L.A. County and will extend the subway from its current terminus at Wilshire/Western for nine miles to Westwood/VA Hospital. The project is being constructed in three sections. The third and final subway section will continue another 2.6 miles from Century City to Westwood/VA Hospital. The entire line is scheduled for completion by 2027, in time for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. 

For more information on the contest, please visit

Follow the Purple Line Extension on Twitter and Facebook. Follow the Purple Line Extension TBMs journey underground  on Twitter @PurpleLineTBMs.

About Metro
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. Created in 1993, Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that transports about 1.3 million passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines. The agency also oversees bus, rail, highway and other mobility-related building projects and leads transportation planning and programming for Los Angeles County.

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