East Midlands Trains: Closing Nottingham train station


The team

Nicky Bullard, John Fazio, Chris Whitehead, Camilla Patel, Daniel Jenkins, Joe Beveridge, Vanessa Speedy.

How did the campaign make a difference?

The longest-ever planned station closure meant huge disruption for customers. Being honest and clear about the changes provided reassurance and a sense of support. Commuters really engaged, with open rates of up to 75% (the highest seen); over 80% of customers were "satisfied" with how the disruption was handled.

What details of the strategy make this a winning entry?

East Midlands Trains was faced with a situation unprecedented in the rail industry. A combination of 40-year-old signalling equipment and worn-out points around Nottingham required a major resignalling project, causing the station to shut for a record 37 days. Nottingham is a major hub station and the closure was expected to cause a significant loss in revenue. The objective was to limit immediate impact on revenue and brand reputation, while ensuring customers came back after the station reopened. To make matters worse, the work had no visible impact, as all improvements were to train tracks and operational mechanisms rather than station refurbishment. This necessitated a three-fold strategy: 1) stop travellers in their tracks, by standing out and conveying a warning without suggesting danger; 2) be upfront with complete clarity, recognising that disruption was inevitable; and 3) be understanding of the impact, with a sense of reassurance and being in it together.

How did creativity bring the strategy to life?