Hazerswoude, The Netherlands – Britain’s biggest train operator, Northern Rail, decided to refurbish its 15-year-old Class 323 fleet of rolling stock.
Graphics converters SSDM and specialist self-adhesive decorative and functional vinyl films from Avery Dennison Graphics and Reflective Products were key components in the successful completion of the project. The trains’ livery needed to be rebranded from the old ‘First North Western’ logo to Northern Rail’s new brand image, with its vivid colour scheme of blue, purple and grey – but creating graphic solutions was just one part of the project.
‘We needed partners who listened to what we wanted and delivered within the extremely tight timescale’ said John Stainthorpe, Northern Rail’s 323 Fleet Manager. ‘The work involved engineering and electrical refurbishment as well as the interior and exterior decoration work. We needed a team of experts in each area’.
Northern Rail chose Avery Dennison as its supplier of durable self-adhesive films, in partnership with leading UK-based specialist transportation interior and exterior graphics SSDM and, for the engineering infrastructure work, Alstom.
Together, Alstom and SSDM had just ten days to achieve the full refurbishment of each set of three-car units. While Alstom worked on the infrastructure, SSDM worked on the external carriage surfaces. First step was the removal of the old self-adhesive vinyl livery, and the thorough preparation of the coachwork surfaces.
Avery® Bodyguard laminate, custom colour-matched
Once this was completed, Avery Dennison’s new Avery® Bodyguard protective self-adhesive film laminate from the dedicated Avery Railway Media portfolio was applied by SSDM’s team of certified Avery Graphics vinyl fitters. The Northern Rail graphics consisted of Avery 7850 gloss, conformable cast vinyl, custom colour-matched to the company’s specification, and overlaminated with polyester Avery Anti Graffiti Film. This combination gives excellent durability and is warranted for six years, and is now used extensively across Europe on rolling stock.
Getting the job done – on time!
Avery Dennison manufactured the custom colour-matched cast vinyl films in their clean-room facility in Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands. SSDM, at their state-of-the-art factory in Lowestoft, UK, cut out the coloured graphics in the required shapes and sizes, and overlaminated them with the protective Anti Graffiti film. SSDM’s experienced team of graphics applicators then applied the high-gloss laminate to the carriages. SSDM finished off the rebranding by painting the carriage roofs, return ends, yellow front ends, and skirts -- enabling Northern Rail to put each three-carriage unit back into service looking like a new train...and on time!
‘The finish is superb’
Northern Rail’s John Stainthorpe was delighted with the results. ‘The Avery Bodyguard system has worked well for us and the finish is superb. We have worked with SSDM in the past,’ he said, ‘and we were confident that they would be able to engage with Alstom to get the job done.’
Mark Halliburton, Fleet Engineer for Porterbrook Leasing, who own the rolling stock, was also a satisfied customer. He commented: ‘This has been a very smooth operation and all involved must be congratulated on their professionalism and the quality job that they have delivered. This initiative will ensure high-quality protection of our vehicles for many years to come”
For Avery Dennison Graphics and Reflective Products, the Northern Rail project provided a high-visibility showcase of their Avery Railway Media portfolio, creating considerable interest in the products among the railway community across Europe.