Britain’s biggest rail franchise rolls out new identity

Train operating company Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs the Thameslink and Great Northern Services, as well as the Southern and Gatwick Express lines, is rolling out a new identity.

The new branding has been created by SomeOne. For the project, the consultancy has created a new identity for GTR and related branding for Thameslink and Great Northern. SomeOne executive creative director Gary Holt says the aim of this is to create a “seamless” journey across the networks. Southern and Gatwick Express will retain their existing identities.

According to SomeOne, GTR is Britain’s biggest rail franchise and operates 22 per cent of passenger rail services in the country.

The “helping hand” concept developed by SomeOne for Southeastern Rail is also being applied to Thameslink and Great Northern. Southeastern is owned by Go-Ahead Group, which co-owns GTR.

SomeOne says the colours in the new GTR branding have been chosen to help link the Thameslink and Great Northern lines while also working with the previous branded rolling stock. The consultancy says: “This saves considerable cost in having to repaint an entire fleet immediately.”

The “helping hand” system, meanwhile, was developed to aid communications for Southeastern Rail. A variety of sleeves and objects can each be used to represent a different customer, member of staff or action.

SomeOne says: “The ‘helping hands’ are also a useful coherent branding element that can help travellers who cross networks. Where previously they would simply be met by new and different identities – they are now met by a recognisable, useful helping hand. Uniting what was previously separate.”

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  • D Conran November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    As unimpressive as the train service itself.

  • charles horton November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    A nice little graphics job.
    Unfortunately it’s lipstick on a pig.

    As a daily commuter on Europe’s most expensive commuter route, the reality of the experience is far from ‘seamless’.

    I sincerely hope that the ‘helping hand’ will be there for me when I next need a seat on the cattle train.

    Are there any other versions of that hand? Have you got a one fingered version the client never saw? It would make a great ‘spongy’ promotional gift to give out when the fares go up in the New Year!

  • Simon Manchipp November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Thanks for the comments so far — travel is always an emotive subject.

    This is just the start of a significant programme of change that will see significant benefits to all passengers.

    There will be £430m worth of investment in the GTR franchise during its seven-year term.

    Charles Horton, GTR’s chief executive said at the launch ‘There’s no underestimating the challenge of the task ahead.’

    “We’ve listened to what people want, and will be increasing capacity on busy commuter services, improving reliability and punctuality, introducing three new fleets of trains, spending £50m on station improvements, and investing in our employees’ training and development.”

    These benefits are extensive and include:

    » New trains for Gatwick Express (by 2016).

    » 108 vehicles (27 x 4 car) specifically designed for the service and including free wi-fi

    » New Metro trains for Moorgate services in 2018.

    » 150 new high capacity vehicles (25 x 6 car)

    » 1,140 new Siemens Class 700 vehicles for Thameslink routes (2016-2018)

    » Introduction of newer trains (Class 377) on Cambridge and Kings Lynn route (by 2017)

    » 26% more morning peak vehicles into central London

    » 10,000 more seats and 50% more passenger-carrying capacity

    » More 12-car trains through new Class 700 Siemens fleet operating through Thameslink core

    » New six car trains for Moorgate services with high capacity Metro environment, new Gatwick Express

    » 12-car trains in peak

    » More than doubling of overall capacity from Cambridge to London by 2018

    From December 2015:

    Brighton Main Line recast to benefit south of Victoria, London Bridge and Elephant and Castle earlier than planned, providing:

    • significantly improving performance and delay recovery

    • services with more evenly spaced intervals

    • reduced journey times from London to Brighton, Lewes, Eastbourne, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worthing, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Hastings

    • restoration of four direct services per hour from Bedford to Gatwick Airport

    • extension of two Gatwick Express services to Brighton in each hour

    • new off-peak services from Redhill and Purley to Thameslink core

    Of course, this new visual identity is a symbol of this new endeavour to radically improve services. It’s not an overnight fix! But change is coming.

    Hope that helps clarify things!

  • Christopher Woods November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I NoOne else doing any design work of late?

    Nice job though – as a regular Thameslink customer, it’ll be interesting to see if the identity and brand work well cohesively, through the organisation.

  • Sammy Georgie November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Great that the service is going to improve in the future, but why on earth did the identity have to look like it was designed in the past… by a British Rail navvy.

  • David Norton November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I use this service daily and I have to say I almost cried in despair when I saw this new identity. Dull, lifeless and totally uninspiring. I don’t know what the process was that the agency went through with the client but the end result is terrible.

    What happened to the UK’s great tradition of public service branding. A totally missed opportunity and sadly something we now have to live with for the life of the Franchise.

    Mind you, if a brand is supposed to represent the organisation and the service offered, then this identity nails it. The train service is weak, done on the cheap and generally doesn’t work properly. A perfect match.

  • Jim Batty November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Although I very much enjoy minimalistic design, I think this branding looks overly simplistic and suspect the ‘flat web’ style design will date very quickly. Also, those white coaches are going to look pretty mucky, and therefore depressing, in no time at all.

    BTW, I commuted on Thameslink for over a decade. Its service was terrible, and if The Evening Standard is anything to go by, it is still the same, if not worse. When I showed this new branding to my partner, she immediately said, ‘What did that cost? Why don’t they concentrate on improving the service rather than throwing money at fripperies’.

  • Helen Grant November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I like it.

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