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School pupil wins competition to name giant Eryri tunnel boring machine

12 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Eryri VIP project Tunnel Boring Machine.

A school pupil has won a competition to name a giant tunnel boring machine before it begins its long journey creating one of Wales’ longest tunnels beneath the landscape of Eryri.

The tunnel is being dug as part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project to replace the overhead line with electricity cables buried deep underground.

Building the tunnel will require the use of a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) – a bespoke, specialist piece of equipment that will create a concrete tunnel with an internal diameter of 3.5 metres.


The project aims to reduce the visual impact of National Grid’s overhead line in Eryri National Park through the removal of ten pylons and roughly 3km of existing overhead line across the Dwyryd Estuary.

In line with tunnelling tradition, the Eryri TBM needed a name – traditionally a female name – to be painted in large letters on the machine itself.

Workshops were held at local primary schools to introduce the project to pupils, including a competition to name the Eryri TBM.

The winner was chosen by a panel of project team members from National Grid and Hochtief UK – the principal contractor on the scheme – as well as the four county councillors local to the Eryri VIP project area.

The triumphant name was ‘Buddug’, submitted by Scarlett Katie Lebeau Harvey, 11, from Ysgol Eifion Wyn, Porthmadog.

TBM naming competition winner Scarlett Katie Lebeau Harvey with Steve Ellison, Senior Project Manager for Eryri VIP.

Welsh name

Scarlett wowed the judges with her Welsh entry, which included her explanation, “I have chosen this name because Buddug means buddugoliaeth / victory and deallus / intelligent.”

The name Buddug is the Welsh equivalent of the name Victoria in English. It is derived from ‘buddugoliaeth’, the Welsh translation of the Latin word ‘victoria’ which means ‘victory’ and carries connotations of leadership, triumph, strength, resilience, intelligence and optimism.

The 166 metre-long machine has been remanufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht AG, and weighs a total of 475 tonnes.

Next month, it will be transported to the Eryri VIP project site in Garth, Minffordd, in up to 24 individual loads and assembled on site.

Buddug, the Eryri VIP project Tunnel Boring Machine.

Scarlett, along with the other pupils from the seven primary schools most local to the project site, had been introduced to the project in autumn 2023 during interactive Eryri VIP STEM workshops aiming to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.

The workshops were delivered by local company Sbarduno, using hands-on activities to provide information about the project, its challenges and the specialist task of the Tunnel Boring Machine.

On being told the news that she had won the competition, Scarletts aid: “I’m so happy to win. I really enjoyed the STEM workshop at school and I love thinking that the name I chose will be painted on the side of such an important machine.

“When the machine has created the tunnel the pylons can be taken down, which will make the area even more beautiful.”


As part of her prize, Scarlett and her parents will be invited to see the TBM as it arrives on site later this year, and have their photo taken alongside it.

Steve Ellison, National Grid Senior Project Manager for Eryri VIP, said: “Stakeholders and the community have been at the heart of the Eryri VIP project throughout, and the scheme has been designed and refined with the advice of local experts and community representatives.

“Helping to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists in Eryri is an important element of our work in the community. We received a fantastic response to our interactive STEM workshops and the TBM naming competition.

“We were impressed with the level of research and originality displayed by the pupils and we congratulate Scarlett on her winning suggestion.

“The arrival of the TBM will mark an exciting milestone for the Eryri VIP project and will showcase the powerful combination of high-level technology and science being used to enrich the natural beauty of our landscape.”

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