Passenger Communications

Passenger communications evolution


  • To promote the scale and impact of Thameslink Programme and it’s benefits across London and the South East in order that passengers, commuters, stakeholders and media understand the transformative impact and the long term benefits of the programme and accept the necessary disruption.
  • Working with partners including Train Operating Companies and Transport for London to change commuter behaviour to minimise the impact of programme disruption to help passengers have a better experience during the works.
  • Promote Network Rail and partners delivery of a critical £7bn London & South East infrastructure programme in order to build trust in competent, timely and efficient delivery.
  • Minimise reputation risk to Thameslink Programme, Network Rail and all partners.


Presenting collateral as a coordinated single voice, representing all partners, to:

  • Bring to life the transformative impact of Thameslink Programme on north – south cross London travel by delivering an integrated, pro-active campaign promoting the benefits, impacts and milestones of the Thameslink Programme.
  • Improve the understanding and awareness of Thameslink Programme with an objective of people accepting the disruption and supporting the long term investment.

Original key messages

  1. The Thameslink Programme: Transforming north–south travel through London
    • New spacious trains every 2 to 3 minutes through central London
    • Improved connections give better travel options to more destinations
    • New track and modern trains for more reliable journeys
    • Rebuilding London Bridge with more space, making it easy to use, with great facilities
  2. Connecting Thameslink and Crossrail to create a brand new rail hub at Farringdon giving direct links to three major international airports and St Pancras International.
  3. Rail services to and through London Bridge station are changing:
    • Please keep checking for the latest updates (by visiting the Thameslink Programme website)
    • There will be knock-on effects across London and the South East
    • Know your travel options at times of disruption (by visiting the National Rail Enquiries or TfL websites)
  4. Please bear with us. We’re transforming one of Europe’s most congested railways whilst keeping it running – this will be challenging, we’re working hard to minimise the impact on you.

Creative Approach

The Thameslink Programme created a brand inspired by the idea of improving connections between north and south London. The initial creative worked around contrast and synergy between equal parts using photographic combinations of metaphorical objects and landmarks across the route paired with rail imagery to express the human benefits of the network and the future changes. To reinforce the positive personality of the brand a bright colour palette and simplified identity was produced to give standout from its peer project Crossrail.

Achieving greater cut through

As the branding matured along with the projects progression, the colour palette remained its key identifier and gradually the creative juxtaposition between north and south became less defined, signifying a joining-up of London that the programme has created. By 2017, the closures affecting commuter passengers became more significant as the programme was due to close five central London stations during the working week in August and December. A campaign with greater cut-through was required as we moved away from a photographic approach to one with more impactful illustration.

London Bridge station opening

At the official re-opening of London Bridge, it was important to maintain that although the station was officially operational there were some elements that wouldn’t complete until much later. The resulting campaign featured Thameslink blue (or London Bridge blue) with a range of brickwork illustrations signifying that the countdown to completion had begun.

Case Studies

Engaging with Train Operating Companies

Listening to, consulting and involving staff throughout the change programme contributed towards a high level of ownership

Passenger Communications: Closure Campaign August 2017

Passenger communications best practice during the closure of London Bridge, Charing Cross and Waterloo East stations in summer 2017.

Passenger Communications: London Bridge Station Official Opening

The official opening of London Bridge station by the Duke of Cambridge on 9 May 2018 showcased what the Thameslink Programme has delivered to date for passengers and the surrounding community.

Passenger Communications: London Bridge station hoardings

How installation of Network Rail’s largest ever hoarding, alongside a customer-driven approach to communications, led to high levels of passenger awareness during the redevelopment of London Bridge station.

Communications Lessons Learned

Lessons learned for the benefit of future projects including: Strategic Communications, Brand Development, Blockade & Complex Works, Introduction of New Trains, Stakeholder Engagement and New Timetable.

Collaborative working between the project team and Southeastern

It was critical that train operator, Southeastern, were fully involved and treated as part of the team right through from the early design stages to testing, entry into service and post implementation stages. Here's how that worked.

Control Centre communications

This case study looks at the activities that took place, managed by the Control Centre, to provide communications in preparation for changes

Managing train service changes

Recommendations for future projects to improve the planning, management and delivery of train service / timetable changes making the process as effective as possible

Managing change

For a long-term programme to be able to clearly layout the detail of all relevant changes to stations and tracks at an early stages is not possible. Read about how Thameslink Programme managed this.

Looking after customers

Recommendations for future projects to improve the delivery of infrastructure projects to maintain a focus on customers

Travel Demand Management

This case study makes recommendations for future projects to improve the joined-up marketing and communications

Passenger satisfaction

Passenger satisfaction at Network Rail’s four biggest stations in the south east is at its highest ever, the National Rail Passenger Survey 2019 has revealed.