Helping Network Rail to deliver the Railway Upgrade Plan


Rail passenger numbers have doubled in the last twenty years. And are set to double again in the next twenty-five. With demand souring, Network Rail have embarked on the most ambitious modernisation programme since the Victorian era.

We’re helping to build awareness, communicate benefits and manage travel demand across numerous upgrade programmes in all corners of the country.

The Waterloo and South West Upgrade

In the last 20 years, the number of passenger journeys on the lines in and out of Waterloo have more than doubled to 234 million. We helped Network Rail and South West Trains to deliver an £800 million investment to create 30% more vitally needed space for passengers.

While customers were familiar with train operators warning them of train trouble, what they were rarely told was the reasons behind it. The truth was that while customers faced disruption in the short term, they’d enjoy a vastly improved service in the long-term. 

We used this insight to come up with our creative platform:

For a bigger and better service down the line

We gave people the practical information they sought but also inspired them about how much better London Waterloo, and the services in and out, would become after the upgrade had finished. Everything we communicated supported the fact that this was an exciting and transformational programme of work.

South West Trains_WaterlooUpgrade_Launch_Screen_InSItuHero2.jpg

We started the communication one year in advance so that by the time the disruption came along in August 2017, people were much more understanding about the short-term changes they needed to make to their journeys. 


We gave the upgrade meaning

We made sure people understood not only that work was happening, but the benefits it would bring.


And finally, we dialled up the urgency and directness to ensure no-one missed it

A comprehensive Waterloo media domination shortly before the work commenced meant the message was inescapable. 



“I knew everything I needed to know with plenty of warning to make alternative arrangements”

“The upgrade works are necessary and long overdue. Waterloo is frequently overcrowded, trains are delayed and extremely busy. These upgrades will alleviate the issue”


South West Trains customer quotes



8 in 10 said they supported the infrastructure works at Waterloo despite most of them experiencing a delay

3/4 of passengers said they adapted their journeys during the infrastructure works

97% of passengers surveyed were aware of the infrastructure upgrade before starting their journey, with 76% satisfied with the information provided


One simple icon applied across all media

To reinforce the 'closures' message at each point of the campaign, we developed a simple icon and colour scheme that was ruthlessly applied across every element and every touchpoint.


With three central London stations shut over the same period of time, we prompted travellers to consider other options – a plan B.

The insistency of the language increased as the closures got nearer, from subtle prompt to direct action.



Insight tracking showed 52% national awareness of our campaign, 98% Southeastern passenger awareness and 44% behaviour change among targeted passengers

The Brighton Main Line Improvement Project

The idea: The Coastal Upgrade


The Brighton Main Line Improvement Project