Communications Lessons Learned

Lessons learned from Thameslink Programme partners for the benefit of future major projects

Summary of key lessons

Strategic Communications

  • Major blockade communications should be informed with detailed input on the impacts of the work on passenger services, ticketing information and demand suppression.

Brand Development

  • Identify key stakeholders to be involved in developing communications for the programme and target audience’s stakeholders.
  • Agree the lead organisation with responsibility for managing the branding and clearly define the roles of all stakeholders involved in promoting the Programme to passengers. Leadership of the Communications plans should be reviewed and updated as necessary to reflect different phases of the programme.

Blockade and Complex Works

  • In the event of issues following delivery of new infrastructure around blockades, communications should be agreed and delivered jointly by Network Rail and the Train Operator.
  • Planning for communications at the end of blockades should identify who is going to lead on the handling and agree a range of contingency scenarios and messaging in advance, including reactive lines to take to ensure consistent messaging which can be deployed quickly if required by all partners.
  • Communications about complex works should provide detailed travel advice for passengers on a station-by-station basis where possible to provide targeted information about the impacts of the blockade and alternative routes for passenger to make choices about their travel options.

Introduction of New Trains

  • More market research should have been carried out with passengers in addition to a representative group including consideration of a customer panel from the start of the design and manufacture of the trains.
  • When new trains are introduced on the network they will require time to bed in and may experience some initial performance issues. Communications planning should consider the implications of potential disruption to passengers during this phase.

Stakeholder Engagement

  • A mix of communications channels appropriate to the target audience should be used to communicate the impacts of blockades with passengers and stakeholders.

New Timetable

  • There should have been a thorough review of all the risks and a clear plan in place for if things did not go to plan.

Further information

For more information on this Learning Legacy case study please email