Gordon Pettitt

Gordon Pettitt

Gordon Pettitt

On 3 December 1990 one of the most fundamental reorganisations within British Rail in recent years got under way. Provincial became Regional Railways. And Regional Railways means all Britain’s passenger services except Intercity and Network SouthEast.

The name is significant. It represents a ‘family’ of railways that are to be operated on a decentralised basis. Each member of the family will aim to provide a service of quality, tuned to meet the specific needs of a readily recognisable area of the country.

All these services will interconnect seamlessly right across England, Wales and Scotland. By April 1992 we shall have reorganised ourselves into five profit centres: ScotRail, North East, North West, Central, and South Wales & West.

The ‘seamlessness’ of the operation will be represented by a new, strong but sympathetic corporate identity scheme. It will provide the ‘family likeness’. At the same time, it is flexible enough to enable staff and public alike to detect a degree of individuality, as in all families. This is particularly true in the case of the Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) which make such a contribution to the network and plan even greater investment in the near future.

The corporate identity is a theme with variations, but the variations are pre-ordained so as to create a coherent whole.

A large number of people within the organisation have contributed their ideas. The actual scheme, the core of which is contained within the Identity Management binder, is the work of professionals with great experience in this particular field. But they have been building, and continue to build, on a foundation of your ideas. It is very much your corporate identity.

We need to put it in place quickly in order to reap the rewards of nationwide recognition. New stations and trains, and all publications due for reprinting will take on the family characteristics straight away. Existing stations and rolling stock will acquire them as and when they need refurbishing. This will help to control costs and provide us with time to raise the level of our performance. Ideally, our path towards a higher quality service and the public’s path towards greater recognition of us and what we have to offer will coincide within the next two or three years. And that will benefit us all.

Gordon Pettitt, Managing Director

How does Regional Railways fit into BR?

British Rail logo on a building
How does Regional Railways fit into B.R.?

How does Regional Railways fit into B.R.?

This is a service that is part of British Rail as a whole.

As you will see from the new Regional Railways logotype, endorsed as it is by the British Rail symbol, this is a service that is part of British Rail as a whole. A major part.

This is the reason why you will find that some of the elements of your new corporate identity are the same as those on Intercity and Network SouthEast. The signing system continues to use Rail Alphabet. The Helvetica typeface continues on all material that provides the customer with information about the how, why and where of getting from A to B.

There are two reasons for this. The first is that we believe these particular elements do their job so well that neither we, nor any other rail network anywhere else in the world, has been able to improve upon them. The second is that the customer who buys rail travel wants to be able to move throughout the British network of railways without effort.

They might start their journey on Regional Railways, continue on Intercity and end the journey on Network SouthEast. So on the one hand, each of these businesses needs to be instantly recognisable; on the other, the customer needs clear and unambiguous directions so as to be able to move fluently from one to the next.

A universal, readily recognisable and uncluttered information system does more to smooth the customer’s path than anything else.

1992 // TRANSDIFFUSION BROADCASTING SYSTEM