Crossrail delays lead to retailer embarrassment

Elizabeth line services were due to begin in December 2018 Credit: Transport for London/PA

Delays to the opening of London's ambitious Crossrail project have caught out retailers after they were forced to sell products showing the incomplete line as open.

Stationary stalwart WHSmith is among those railroaded into selling inaccurate stock after it printed 2019 diaries showing the Elizabeth line, the name for Crossrail after it opens, as a functioning transport connection.

The reality is that the project is significantly behind schedule, the first trains are now set to run in this autumn - more than a year after the originally timetabled opening.

A Crossrail poster with references to 2018 covered up at Tottenham Court Road station Credit: Neil Lancefield/PA

Transport bosses have been forced to cover up signage at Tottenham Court Road station which stated the line will open in 2018. A white stick-on patch now covers the initial debut date.

Last week, the project suffered a further embarrassing setback as it's chief executive, Mark Wild, was forced to admit there is "still thousands of hours of construction work to do in the tunnels," and that none of the stations could have been ready to open by the end of 2018.

Last month, Adidas found itself selling Elizabeth line branded products before the opening of the line. Under a deal with Transport for London to raise revenue for the city's infrastructure, the products were on track to hit shelves at the same time the first trains departed.

Adidas launched Elizabeth line trainers in December Credit: Adidas/PA

A blame game has now erupted over who is responsible for the delays.

Keith Prince, a Conservative member of the Greater London Authority who sits on the transport committee, also blamed the Labour Mayor and claims "taking his eye off the ball," has led to "companies wasting money".

Crossrail's former chairman Sir Terry Morgan previously insisted the mayor was aware of problems at least a month before they were announced at the end of August.

Sadiq Khan claims he was only made aware of the delays two days before they were made public knowledge.