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

Does a Corporate Identity really matter?

Malvern Link

Does a Corporate Identity really matter?

Making Regional Railways into the kind of service that we'd all like to use.

Yes it does, for several important reasons. First and foremost, you, the people who make Regional Railways what it is and what it will become, need to know who and what you are working for. You need to be able to recognise everything and everyone that is part of the business if you are genuinely to feel a member of the team.

Once the team has succeeded in making Regional Railways into the kind of service that we’d all like to use – one that customers can rely on, that takes them where they want to go, in comfort and on time – the corporate identity will have become much more than a code for identifying different bits of the business. It will have become the outward visible sign of an organisation that gives its customers what they want, a service that its workforce will have built together and will be proud to live up to.

By then the corporate identity will be doing a parallel and equally important job in the eyes of the customers. It will have become a symbol of all the virtues that together add up to the “brand”: competence, reliability, high standards of care and maintenance, and friendly service. We want our customers to feel a sense of confidence whenever they recognise any part of the Regional Railways corporate identity.

A corporate identity is a two-edged sword. Its message is: “We are the people who are responsible for this service that you are receiving”. And it says that, whether the service is good or bad. We have to ensure that at all times and in all circumstances it is good or we damage the customers’ view of us and, ultimately, our business.

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.

Managing the new Identity

Managing the new Identity

Getting things right first time is the goal.

The Regional Railways corporate identity scheme tends quite deliberately towards restraint and understatement, a hallmark of quality in any walk of life. It accommodates local architectural and environmental characteristics. But make no mistake, flexibility is built into the scheme. The scheme itself must be applied rigorously if it is to achieve its proper impact.

And that means paying attention to detail, whether it is a question of using the right local material to restore a station building or simply developing a reputation for being a network whose stations are always swept clean, whose facilities always work.

Getting those things right requires constant effort but it also develops a real sense of satisfaction in everyone involved. It’s a little like putting on a play, but a play with a lifetime of opening nights and a vast audience comprising not only our customers but also other people within the business. Getting things ‘right on the night’ is the goal. To achieve it will be tremendously rewarding, on a personal as well as a business level.

The core of the new Regional Railways corporate identity scheme is contained in the Identity Management binder, a copy of which should be accessible to anyone who has any responsibility for implementing any part of the identity. It contains individual information sheets, each dealing with one specific aspect of the identity, or one part of one specific aspect. Because a corporate identity is never static, the information sheets are updated and added to as the need arises.

Both the binder and this brochure contain lists of contacts who will be able to assist with any queries or problems relating to particular aspects of the identity. Queries on general aspects of the identity should go to the Identity Manager who is also on the list of contacts.

Our aim is to provide, with the aid of the Identity Management Binder and this brochure, totally clear and unambiguous instructions on how to put the corporate identity into practice. And putting it into practice is a matter of obligation. It is not an option.