Opinion

London Train Company Logos, Bitchily Critiqued

London Train Company Logos, Bitchily Critiqued

Train company logos. We see them most days — both on trains, and in articles saying how rubbish trains are. But have you ever stopped to take a proper look/give them a proper slagging off? We have.

Chiltern Railways

So 90s it hurts. Maybe Chiltern think that the country folk who use the service still think this is really cool and forward thinking though. But they don't Chiltern, they don't.

c2c

This screams 'media agency' more than it does 'train operator' — though whether it offers corporate advertising solutions or train journeys to Essex, the product sounds pretty pointless either way. And as for what it stands for — don't ask. Not even c2c can make their mind up.  

Virgin West Coast

Let's be honest, you could stick a steaming pile of turd next to the Virgin logo and it'd still be the epitome of cool. Bloody Richard Branson, what has he done to us? All the glamour of first class air travel, but on the ground... the logo, that is — not necessarily the trains themselves.

Virgin East Coast

Oh, come on now. We know we said anything looks cool next to the Virgin logo, but we're sure they could've come up with something better than just slapping 'east coast' on the bottom. Lazy.

Great Western Railway

This timeless and elegant re-imagination of Great Western Railway's vintage original logo makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The bold design is a nod to the railway's golden years: close your eyes, forget how much you paid for a ticket, and you too can turn back time and pretend you're riding on Brunel's masterpiece. A real railway renaissance.

Grand Central

This is what happens when you try and evoke a sense of history without the heritage to back it up. Falling flat where GWR succeeds, Grand Central ends up looking more like a cartoon airline than historic railway operator.

East Midlands Trains

Simple and a little bit boring. Just like the East Midlands then, eh? That last bit was a joke.

South West Trains

Now where have we seen this one before... (as of summer 2017 you won't be seeing this anywhere, as South West lost the franchise).

South Western Railway

Have South Western Railway squandered their chance to do a decent rebrand of South West Trains' logo? It's a definite 0/10 for the uninspired font, but 10/10 for managing to squeeze the network map into that little blue square. Pretty neat, huh?

Gatwick Express

Surprisingly classy — like an upmarket lifestyle magazine. Shame that travelling on it means you're flying from Gatwick.

Greater Anglia

Ooooh, look at us, we're so damn modern with our lowercase lettering and rounded edges. If Labour had a rebrand, it would probably end up looking like this.

Stansted Express

Stansted Express: "We need a logo, can we use yours?"

Greater Anglia: "Sure, just change it up a bit so it doesn't look like you copied."

Stansted Express: "Ok..."

Heathrow Express

What exactly are we riding on here — a train or a bloody Mercedes?

Heathrow Connect

The visual embodiment of a service that isn't even pretending to be as good as Heathrow Express. It's the Pepsi to your Coca Cola, the Burger King to your McDonald's, the Reebok to your Nike...

London Midlands

The only thing that could save this logo from mediocrity is if those 7 dots on the right actually meant something. We asked, and they didn't know. Oh.

Southeastern Trains

Breezy blue makes for a breezy logo for a breezy service. A nice attempt at being modern without falling down the trap of rounding off all the edges.

Southern Rail

Even if we liked this one, we wouldn't want to say anything nice about it. Luckily, we don't.

Caledonian Sleeper

Does it really matter what this logo looks like? You'll be asleep for most of the journey.

Thameslink

It's a Friday afternoon, and the intern tasked with designing Thameslink's new logo still hasn't managed to come up with anything interesting. The solution? Whack a pink forward slash on the end and be done with it. You can always make up some bullshit about how it represents 'moving forward' afterwards.

Eurostar

This metallic textured beast would've been cool in the early 2000s, but we're past that now. Won't somebody please tell Eurostar that monochromatic, flat logos are the order of the day?

TfL Rail

A boring and temporary logo for a boring and temporary service. Soz.

What do you think of London's train company logos? Let us know in the comments.

Last Updated 31 August 2017

Jason Clift-Jones

You missed out Great Northern. See Thameslink.

NickL

Southern's train service might be rubbish, but their logo is probably the most historic of the lot. Other than the light green circle, it's pretty much the same as the original Southern Railway used to have on their steam locomotives in the 1920s-40s.

Matthew

Chiltern have a new logo that might just about eclipse all the other operators... in the dullness stakes.