The massive tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will bore under the River Thames to carry out gas infrastructure works has been named Amanda by the Chelsea Pensioners.

It was named after Amanda Lord, the infirmary business manager at the Royal Hospital Chelsea , where the Pensioners live.

The work carried out by the machine is part of a £1 billion programme to replace the ageing gas infrastructure in the capital.

Work is being carried out by Cadent, formally known as National Grid, which says it will help ensure Londoners keep on enjoying safe and reliable gas supplies for cooking and heating.

Chelsea Pensioner Tom Mullaney explained why the TBM had been named after Ms Lord. He said: “Amanda is a well-loved member of staff and does a lot to support us as Pensioners.

“I thought she would be delighted to be nominated by the Pensioner community as she is always in the background, never in the fore and deserves recognition.”

Royal Hospital Chelsea business manager Amanda Lord and Chelsea Pensioners with the Tunnel Boring Machine named in her honour

Ms Lord said: “It is an honour to work at the Royal Hospital and I’m absolutely thrilled to have been nominated to have the tunnel boring machine named after me.

“Initially I thought this was a joke being played on me by some of the Pensioners, which I’d been playing along with, so I dread to think what they’ve been saying about me!”

Project Manager Andrew Hejdner said: “We’ve had a great relationship with the Royal Hospital and its staff and residents, and also with Battersea Park on the other side of the river.

“We thought inviting the Chelsea Pensioners to name the TBM would be a great way to show our appreciation of the local community’s patience and understanding while we carry out this important project.”

Earlier this year a 30 metre shaft was sunk into the grounds of the historic hospital, with another shaft dug on the opposite side of the Thames in Battersea Park.

Tunnelling will start after TBM Amanda has been lowered into the shaft in the hospital grounds.

The 30-metre shaft sunk into the grounds of Royal Hospital Chelsea, as part of a 330 metre tunnel being dug beneath the Thames

She will be remotely controlled by an above ground operator and carve out a 330m long tunnel.

Tunnelling is expected to be completed in 2018 after which the new intermediate pressure gas pipe will be installed.

In its preparations Cadent has held discussions with 15 different organisations, securing 20 different permissions, and worked around other major projects such as Thames Tideway.

It also ensured events such as the Chelsea Flower Show and arts fair Masterpiece were not affected by the project.

The tunnel is part of Cadent’s £1bn investment in replacing ageing gas mains across the capital.

For more information on the project call 0800 389 8261 or, for 24-hour operational enquiries please call 0800 096 5678.

Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.

You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.

Available to download from the App Store or Google Play for Android now!