The first completed tunnel in the £14.8 billion cross-London Crossrail project has been unveiled.
Tunnel machine Phyllis bored 4.25 miles between Royal Oak and Farringdon in the city of London in an 18-month operation.
The completed work has been seen by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, who said today: "This first tunnel is a key milestone in the journey towards a better transport network in London.
"Crossrail will transform the way people travel, slashing journey times from the City to Heathrow by around 30 minutes and increasing London's rail capacity by 10%. Anyone who travels in London knows Crossrail can't come soon enough and today shows that the project is on track to open in 2018."
He went on: "This is just one part of the Government's plan to invest in our future through growth boosting projects. When completed Crossrail is set to create £42 billion for the UK economy, which means more jobs, better skills and growing businesses across the country."
Mr Alexander has helped enclose a time capsule in the remaining section of Phyllis. Among the items included in the capsule was a 2013 edition of the London A to Z street atlas donated by the company of A-Z originator Phyllis Pearsall after whom the Phyllis machine was named.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "The completion of the first section of Crossrail tunnel is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved in delivering this landmark infrastructure project."
Crossrail's seven giant tunnelling machines have completed more than nine miles of the 26 miles of new train tunnels that will link east and west London. Another 8.75 miles of new passenger, platform and service tunnels are being constructed below the new Crossrail stations.