Tunnel from Royal Oak to Farringdon took 18 months, part of a planned 42km of train tunnels

Crossrail has unveiled its first completed train tunnel, following 18 months and 6.8km of digging.

Tunnel machine Phyllis arrived at Farringdon this week after starting at Royal Oak.

Infrastructure minister Lord Deighton, chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, and deputy mayor for transport Isabel Dedring were the first to set foot inside the tunnel at Farringdon.

The ministers also met apprentices constructing Farringdon’s passenger tunnels, a handful of the 260 apprentices currently working on the scheme.

Overall, the project will deliver 400 apprenticeships.

Another three tunnelling machines are set to arrive at Farringdon in the next year. In total, Crossrail requires 42km of train tunnel and 14km of passenger, platform and service tunnels.

Crossrail Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme said: “Crossrail has finished construction of its first section of tunnel, showing that the UK can deliver big projects on time and on budget. In the process we are creating a new generation of tunnellers, with many of them training at the new £13m Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in east London, providing skills for not only Crossrail but future infrastructure projects.”

Crossrail is set to begin services in 2018.