City Rail Link

NEWS - MAY 2019

Jeffie: What's in a name?

Jeffie lifted out of the Nikau St Reception Shaft

By tradition, machines that work underground are named after women in honour of St Barbara, the patron saint of miners.

St Barbara was born around the mid-third century and it's due to her that tunnel boring machines get female names.

"Tunnellers look to St Barbara for protection and in keeping with tradition, statues of her were placed in tunnel entrances. They overlooked crews as they headed underground to work and brought them back safely at the end of their shifts" explains Dr Sweeney.

St Barbara is also the patron saint of armourers, artillerymen, military engineers, miners and others who work with explosives. In Christian history, St Barbara fled into a cave to hide from her father after she had converted to Christianity against his wishes. Her hiding place was eventually discovered, and she was killed. Legend has it her father beheaded her, then he was struck by lightning and killed.

Jeffie was a popular name in France about 100 years ago and the machine is owned by the French firm, Bessac, part of the March Bessac joint venture, responsible for the diversion of the main.

^ back to top

Print Friendly and PDF
Nigel Horrocks