Opinion Former Article

3M graphic films refresh interior décor on Virgin Trains

Rail operators drive new trend for art in transit to inspire passengers and protect interiors.

Bracknell, UK, 10 April 2014 – Diversified technology company 3M today announced that Virgin Trains has completed an interior makeover using its graphic films to refresh the décor in its toilets.  Passengers travelling on Virgin’s Class 221 Voyager and Class 390 Pendolino fleet of trains on the West Coast Main Line are benefiting from an aesthetically improved toilet environment with a picturesque vista of a Virgin balloon in flight over a meadow. The 3M graphic films used in the project were printed and supplied by Virgin’s fleet livery partner Stewart Signs. They are long-lasting, hard-wearing and industry compliant with full warranty and approval for rail industry use.

Ken Gibbs, Communications Manager, Virgin Trains, commented, “The toilet refurb project is a typical Virgin initiative, adding personality and individuality to bring a smile to customers’ faces. It’s important to us that customers reach their destination on time and in comfort, feeling refreshed on arrival. By sprucing up the toilets with smart new graphics, improved lighting and door controls, they are now a more attractive place to be. Together with our tongue in cheek toilet sign humour and amusing recorded messages, they contribute to the unmistakable Virgin passenger experience.”

Train wrapping offers advantages all-round: passengers get to travel in a pleasant environment, the graphic art arouses the interest of new audiences, and the rail operators and transit authorities protect the interior of their trains during a time of increasing network usage.

“We are seeing a growing trend in the European rail industry towards protecting train interiors and enhancing the passenger experience with art in transit,” said Pen Webley, Marketing, 3M Commercial Graphics. “The Virgin Trains toilet project is a great example of a refurb where a rail operator has enlivened an otherwise drab and unwelcoming space. Similarly, our graphic films have been used to bring artistic beauty to commuter trains in France. For example, last year the interior ceiling and walls on commuter trains in the Paris suburbs were covered with graphic films reproducing the famous paintings and artefacts of Paris’ Musée d’Orsay.”

For the Virgin Trains interior makeover, Stewart Signs chose to use Controltac Graphic Film with Comply Adhesive IJ180C and Scotchgard Graphic and Surface Protection Film 8995 from 3M. Controltac Graphic Film IJ180C is a popular film for rail applications and is also used on the First Capital Connect Fleet. This opaque film is fully compliant with required rail standards, producing high quality and long-lasting, large fleet graphics. Its pressure-activated adhesive allows for easier and faster installation reducing the time a train needs to be out of action for a livery upgrade or overhaul.

The Scotchgard Graphic and Surface Protection Film 8995 is a durable, matte, extruded polyester rail overlaminate designed to protect graphics and surfaces from graffiti, scratches and gouges. The film prevents scratches from damaging the under-surface by providing a protective barrier. It can withstand harsh solvents that are needed to clean the surface and remove graffiti to uphold brand image.

In the case of the French commuter train, it has been noted that vandalism is less of a problem since the graphic films have been installed. During their journey, commuters can admire travelling works of art such as “Morning Sun” by Camille Pissaro, Claude Monet’s “Blue Water Lilies”, the famous clock or the glass wall of the Musée d’Orsay.

For more information about 3M graphic solutions for the rail industry, visit www.3M.co.uk/graphicsolutions.  


3M, Scotchgard, Comply and Controltac are trademarks of 3M Company.

Notes to Editors

Visit our Media Room website - www.virgintrains.com/mediaroom   - for the latest news, press releases and the company factsheet. To receive our content live, as and when we publish it, you can sign up to follow us. Go to Follow Virgin Trains and click on ‘Create account’. You can view stakeholder news in the latest edition of The Red Letter at www.virgintrains.newsweaver.com/newsletter.  

Virgin Trains has revolutionised rail travel by creating a high speed, high frequency service that has cut journey times and made rail journeys more comfortable. It has operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997, serving key UK cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Glasgow.

Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded VRG a franchise contract, which started on 9 December 2012 and will run for up to 23 months. The DfT announced on 26 March 2013 a programme for letting future franchises, with the long-term West Coast franchise expected to start in April 2017.

Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous awards. In October 2013 Business Traveller magazine readers voted the company the Best UK Domestic Rail Operator for the seventh year running. In 2011 the company was named Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which it also won in 2009 and 2010). In 2011 Virgin Trains won the British Quality Foundation's Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction.

Customers consistently rate the company the top long-distance rail franchise operator, as measured by the National Passenger Survey (NPS) run by industry watchdog Passenger Focus. In the most recent NPS (Spring 2013) overall satisfaction was 92%, equalling our best ever score from the previous survey (Autumn 2012).

Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011 and again in October 2013. In May 2013 Virgin Trains renewed its accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management's (EFQM) Excellence Model, which it originally achieved in May 2011 The company’s Learning and Development team won a National Training Awards 2011 West Midlands award for its Coaching Culture programme.

For more information about Virgin Trains visit the company’s website www.virgintrains.com or the Media Room website www.virgintrains.com/mediaroom.

About 3M


3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products.

Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $31 billion in sales, 3M employs 89,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries.

The UK and Ireland is home to one of the largest 3M subsidiaries outside the USA, employing 3,000 people across 17 locations, including nine manufacturing sites.

Products manufactured in the UK include coated abrasives, personal safety equipment, adhesive tapes, industrial microbiology products, drug delivery systems, high-performance coatings, secure documents, passport readers and imaging systems.

For more information, visit www.3M.co.uk  or follow @3M_UK on Twitter.

Press contacts:
Penelope Webley                                            Beky Cann
3M Commercial Graphics                              Neesham Public Relations
Tel: 01344 857276                                             Tel: +44 (0) 1296 628180
Email: pwebley@mmm.com                       Email: bekyc@neesham.co.uk

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