Should Merseyrail Rebrand?.

Merseyrail’s Corporate Identity: M to go?

The name Merseyrail has been around since 1977 when the new underground loop line opened connecting most of Merseyside with Liverpool city centre.

Eventually – in 1992, the classic Liverpool Corporation Transport logo was sent off to retire – somewhat to the lament of many. In it’s place, the now familiar capital M inside a filled circle was plastered to Liverpool’s trains, stations and letterheads. It was yellow on grey, and extremly of it’s time.

Fast forward to 2017, and the same logo is STILL being used.

2020 – A new fleet, a new future

In 2020 the Merseyside network known today as Merseyrail will have a new fleet of modern electric trains manufactured by Swiss train company Stadler.

Amongst the many benefits that will be afforded to the public will be that:

  • The new trains will be safer – most notably in the ease in which everyone can get on and off, and will also make Merseyrail the most accessible traditional network in the country.
  • The trains will be able to carry 60 per cent more passengers while retaining the same number of seats. This will help them better cater for rising passenger numbers, both now and in the future.
  • The trains will be faster, cutting journey times by 10 per cent – up to nine minutes on some end-to-end routes.
  • The trains will have the capabilities to eventually run beyond the current Merseyrail boundaries to places like Skelmersdale, Wrexham and Warrington, meeting the ambitions of the Liverpool City Region’s Long Term Rail Strategy.*

Pros and cons of changing identity

  • Pro – a new identity will allow the company to adapt it’s message to a newer audience and instil a reflection of this new generation’s ideals and aspirations. The present identity has to compete in a world where other marques have already shifted in this way.
  • Pro – it will help give the service a push and help create the habit of getting on the train. This is extremely important as cars are beginning to become autonomous, and by the time the new identity and rolling stock has arrived taxi companies will be thinking about using driverless cars to ferry customers about. For these taxi companies this will make it cheaper to get people about because drivers will not be taking a take a cut of the profits. Uber has already been trialing driverless vehicles in America.
  • Pro – with the changing identity it could be a chance to change the transportation zoning system to a radial one. The differing zone shapes and sizes on Merseyside seem to make little to no sense, and hinder people trying to travel between them.
  • Pro – the Walrus card could also be re-thought, utilising a more London-esqe Oyster-type approach. Card reading machines could also be placed on-board trains rather than at stations, removing the need for barriers at any of the Merseyrail stations. These moving barriers would save Merseyrail millions in infrastructure costs and cut the need for bylaw enforcement officers, whilst also making Oyster-like travel possible.

  • Con – the present logo is well known and is shorthand for Metro worldwide as other systems employ the M symbol.
  • Con – it will cost money to implement a change in identity.
  • Con – the name Merseyrail itself has garnered a reputation in recent years for reliability, which has been hard won.

Reflecting the change

As the present Merseyrail identity is a 1992 marque, it would be prudent to reflect the change that the new fleet and possible changes to the service will represent.

As such Future Liverpool has some examples of a new corporate identity for Merseyrail as part of a study. Any new marque will have to better represent the future service and link together areas through a common theme, whilst also marking the geographical differences. These geographical areas should be depicted with area icons, such as a Liver bird for the Liver loop, skyscrapers for Waterside, nature for the Wirral loop and a stylised starburst for the city line.

Design your own

It would be great if we could see your visions of how you want Merseyrail’s future identity to look, so feel free to send us any images you’ve created – we’ll look forward to your input!

*Source of information regarding new train fleet – Merseyrail website



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11th April 2017 by Chris Gibson
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