Perils of design when rebranding a train

In August 2009 the Victorian Government was announced that Connex Melbourne would be dumped as the operator of the Melbourne suburban rail network, replaced by Metro Trains Melbourne.

Rolling out a new look

The government released a flashy video alongside the media release, featuring an X’Trapolis train bearing the new Metro corporate image.

Back in 2009 X’Trapolis trains were the newest in the Melbourne suburban fleet, following a hurried order for 20 new trains to cater for an explosion in patronage.

But for the launch of Metro Trains Melbourne on 30 November none of the new trains were ready to carry passengers, so one of the older X’Trapolis trains was rebranded, with a design looking much like the train featured in the animation.

They didn't clean the bogies or underframe however...

But it wasn’t a full repaint, but a change of stickers – goodbye Connex logo, hello Metro Trains Melbourne.

Old Connex decals showing above the doors of a 1st series X'Trapolis

The same process followed with the rest of the fleet – the first Siemens train to receive the Metro livery appearing a week later, with the fractal design and large ‘METRO’ text fitting easily onto the flat carriage sides.

Siemens 751M taking the side streets, departing Yarraville

But that design wouldn’t fit over the fluted sides of the older Comeng trains, so a cut back version was devised – which didn’t appear until April 2010.

Comeng 376M and 670M at Caulfield station

But if in doubt – rebrand again!

'PTV' branding covers 'Metro' branding, which covered the 'Connex' branding

Following the launch of Public Transport Victoria in 2012, the Metro Trains Melbourne brand was taken off the side of trains, replaced by new PTV logos – resulting in three layers of branding visible.

Feedback from the workshops

In the years that followed, more X’Trapolis trains continued to be delivered – each one being painted plain white at the factory, with Metro stickers applied over the top.

X'Trapolis carriage XT2016 MC2/025 beside completed carriages 245M and 248M

Until July 2018 when a new X’Trapolis train emerged from the Alstom workshops at Ballarat, with a smaller Metro logo on the side.

Original (left) and modified (right) Metro logos on the side of X'Trapolis carriages 273M and 276M

But why was it changed? Take a look at the side of the side of an X’Trapolis train, when coupled to a classmate.

Sequential X'Trapolis carriages 262M and 263M coupled at Southern Cross Station

The previous version of the livery required four different types of door sticker to be kept in stock:

  • ME (left side, left door)
  • ET (left side, right door)
  • TR (right side, left door)
  • RO (right side, right door)

While the new design only needs one kind – plain blue. I wonder who made this clever observation?

Siemens train footnote

The Metro livery applied to the Siemens trains went through a far less noticeable evolution. Can you spot it?

The answer: the train to the left has the early version with one piece stickers, with the train on the right has stickers that avoid the seams in the stainless steel panels.

Presumably the stickers over the seam was would bubble up over time and eventually come loose, hence the change to a more secure two piece design.

And finally – level crossings

There is one that that features prominently in the government’s flashy video from 2009 – single track railways.

And level crossings!

Daniel Andrews took a ‘Level Crossing Removal Project’ policy to the 2014 State Election, with much work done since, but progress on duplicating single track railways is only happening on a sporadic basis.

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2 Responses to “Perils of design when rebranding a train”

  1. Julian Calaby says:

    I could swear I either saw or read about a couple of trains where the stickers on one end had been subtly altered to spell “Meteor” instead of “Metro”.

    However I can’t find any evidence of this online, so I’m not entirely sure I didn’t imagine it.

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