Music producer and rail enthusiast Pete Waterman visited HS2’s Long Itchington Wood Tunnel site in Warwickshire to unveil the name of HS2’s first tunnel boring machine (TBM) on the northern section of Phase One. 

Pete Waterman with the newly-named Dorothy in the background

During a ceremony on the construction site, which is managed by HS2 joint venture Balfour Beatty VINCI, Pete revealed that the TBM is called ‘Dorothy’ – named after Dorothy Hodgkin, who in 1964 became the first British woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her discoveries included confirming the structure of penicillin, and her work with insulin paved the way for it to be used on a large scale for treatment of diabetes. She died in 1994 in Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire. 

Earlier this year Warwickshire residents, schools, colleges and community groups were asked to nominate the names of women closely associated with the county. ‘Dorothy’ was suggested by a student at Warwickshire College Group and was the winning name in a public vote this summer.

Pete Waterman and Mark Shepherd inside Dorothy

Music Producer Pete Waterman, originally from Coventry, is a self-confessed rail enthusiast and has been a supporter of HS2 from the early days of the project. After his visit to the tunnel portal construction site, Pete Waterman said:

“All my working life I’ve travelled and commuted by rail. HS2 is a new chapter in rail travel I can only hope that this railway can do for others what railways did for me.

“HS2 is the next generation of travel… with everybody talking about the environment, we sustain it by having the greenest transport there is. 

“I think one of the things that people miss – think of the opportunity in jobs HS2 is going to create. It’s going to create apprenticeships, people will learn skills, they’ll learn how to interact with people. 

“Our great grandchildren will thank us. Thousands of people across the West Midlands are working on this project, now. 20,000 people across the UK. That’s a massive employer. HS2 is creating more jobs than any other industry would ever do.  

“HS2 is great for the railways, and for the people that invent them, but also for the workforce.”