Help pick a name for the light rail tunnel-boring machine!

Publish Date

Members of the public are invited to help name the enormous tunnel-boring machine that will dig the Beacon Hill light rail tunnel by voting on entries submitted by local kids. 

In August, Sound Transit and Obayashi Corporation launched a contest start asking kids 12 and under to help observe the tunneling industry tradition of giving names to tunnel boring machines. Now it's time for local residents to help pick the winner by voting on Sound Transit's website. 

Click here between now and Sept. 13 to vote among the six top contenders: 

Rocky the Robo Mole

Dig Dog

Emerald Mole

Beacon Hill Drill

Rocky Grinder


In late 2005, internationally respected Obayashi will launch the tunnel-boring machine into the west side of Beacon Hill, where it will carve the twin tunnels that will carry light rail trains between Seattle's SODO area and the Rainier Valley. Once assembled, the tunnel boring machine and trailing gear will weigh about 643 tons and extend about the length of a football field. The tunnel boring machine itself — the front 30 feet — will weigh 360 tons. The machine is currently being assembled near the west portal of the tunnel, located beneath I-5 near the Tully's Coffee roasting plant in SODO. 

The contest provides a fun way for local kids and the public to help mark a historic moment. The winner will be recognized when the tunnel-boring machine is launched this fall and will receive a prize from Obayashi. 

Construction of the Central Link light rail system is moving forward rapidly. Overall, construction bids came in 6 percent below estimates, and Sound Transit remains on schedule to begin carrying passengers starting in mid-2009. The airport light rail connection — Airport Link — is scheduled to be completed by December 2009. By 2020 the system is projected to carry more than 45,000 riders daily between downtown Seattle and the airport.

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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.