National Express puts Wolff Olins on hold

Wolff Olins’ corporate identity work for National Express has been shelved in light of the company’s rail franchise acquisitions. A spokeswoman for Wolff Olins could not comment on the current state of the project.

The last of the 25 rail franchises being sold off by the Government, ScotRail, was awarded to National Express this week. The company is yet to appoint identity and interior designers for either the Scottish franchise or Central Trains, which it won earlier this year.

The name and identity for National Express-owned Midland Mainline were created by Saatchi & Saatchi Design, which has had some “initial conversations” about the new lines, says S&S Design director Alec Rattray.

Meanwhile, Virgin Rail is holding a competition among big manufacturers to design, build and maintain new rolling stock for its second rail franchise, West Coast Main Line.

However, Virgin Rail will have an option to put in alternative interiors if it is not happy with the manufacturers’ designs, says company director Will Whitehorne. At this point Virgin would look at design groups, and FM Design, which is refurbishing the interiors of Virgin’s Cross Country franchise, “would be in the running”, says Whitehorne.

When the West Coast fleet is introduced in the next century “we might go for a different design concept” along the lines of Virgin Atlantic’s white bodywork, he adds.

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