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Meet Angeli

Meet Angeli. She’s connecting LA County.

“Angeli” is the name given to the Regional Connector Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). She will dig twin 1.1 mile underground light-rail tunnels that connect the Metro Blue, Expo and Gold Lines allowing passengers to travel seamlessly about LA County from Long Beach to Azusa and East Los Angeles to Santa Monica. The tunnels will connect three new stations from Little Tokyo to the Financial District in downtown Los Angeles: the 1 st /Central Station in Little Tokyo, the 2 nd /Broadway Station in the Civic Center and 2 nd Pl/Hope St Station in Bunker Hill.

Why is she named?

Like ships, TBMs are named before they begin work for the first time—a mining tradition that dates back to the 14 th century. A female name is chosen because, historically, underground workers revered Saint Barbara—the patron saint for military engineers and miners—as a symbol of protection and good luck for centuries. This homage evolved into the tradition of naming tunneling machines with a female name before the digging begins.

In Spring 2016, Metro launched a naming and art contest and visited downtown area schools to educate students about this modern marvel. Over 300 students submitted original essays and illustrations that were evaluated by a judging panel led by community members. In Summer 2016, the public voted to choose the name and art work to be displayed on the side of the TBM. Windsor McInerny, freshman at Woodrow Wilson Classical High School, won the naming contest with her submission, “Angeli.” Alexander Li, senior at Camarillo High School, won the art contest.  His artwork is currently displayed on the TBM.

“Angeli” is Latin for the word “angels” and shares the name given to the city of Los Angeles, the City of Angels. “Angeli” represents the angel needed to complete this important project that greatly improves Los Angeles transportation. Read the full story about “Angeli” .

How does it work?

A TBM is like a giant drill. The TBM will slowly drill through the earth, digging the tunnels needed for the trains to travel underground. The front section of the TBM is called the shield. At the front of the shield is the cutter head. The cutter head is like a giant circular cheese grater. The shield has two jobs; it drills through the dirt to create a large hole which it then lines with concrete segments to form complete rings. These rings support the tunnel.

When will she start work?

“Angeli” starts work in early 2017, after she has been assembled and tested this fall. It will take approximately three months to put “Angeli” together. She will dig a tunnel starting from 1 st and Alameda in Little Tokyo to 4 th and Flower in the Financial District in downtown Los Angeles. It takes approximately 5 to 6 months to build one tunnel. Then she will return to Little Tokyo and dig a second tunnel to the Financial District.