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First Capital Connect train bears poppy symbol

08 November 2013

Diversified technology company 3M today announced its role in the launch of this year’s Hertfordshire Poppy Appeal involving the creation of a specially branded First Capital Connect train to support the fundraising efforts of the Royal British Legion.  3M donated the graphic film, which was printed with the poppy design and applied by rail livery specialists Aura Graphics.  The unveiling of The Poppy Express took place at the UK train operator’s Hornsey Depot on 24 October and was attended by numerous dignitaries including HRH The Queen’s representative the Countess of Verulam, Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.  The train has since been in continuous service on two routes from Kings Cross to Peterborough and Kings Cross to Cambridge generating huge exposure for the appeal.

First Capital Connect has worked with the Royal British Legion for two years giving the nation's custodian of Remembrance access to stations on its network for Poppy Appeal collections.  In 2013 First Capital Connect wanted to extend its support with a train wrap and it was decided that this activity would act as a launch pad for the Hertfordshire Poppy Appeal, directed by the local  branch of the Royal British Legion.  The branded train will run for approximately one year to commemorate the centenary in 2014 and spread the message that support for veterans is ongoing and not just for two weeks in November.

Aura Graphics was chosen to manage the train wrap project from design to installation. Specialists in train livery rebranding and partners of First Capital Connect for almost 10 years, Aura liaised with the operator and Royal British Legion Hertfordshire branch to design the poppy themed graphics according to strict brand guidelines.

According to Larry Heyman, Integration and Partnership Manager, First Capital Connect:  “The Royal British Legion team was anxious to ensure adherence to brand guidelines so we needed to create a high impact visual while sticking within specific boundaries.  I genuinely believe we successfully achieved this and know they feel the same way.  We had very good, instant feedback from Aura Graphics throughout the design phase considering we were working under tight time constraints and a national launch date that was set in stone.  The train was cleaned inside and out before the wrap was applied, and was out of action for a few days so as not to spoil the surprise.”

Aura Graphics provided its services free of charge, designing and printing the graphics at its factory in Lowestoft and then its specialist rail team installed the wrap in just one day at the Hornsey Depot.  The half wrap covers the Class 321 Carriage section from the orange safety line down to the window.  The lower section is First Capital Connect standard livery with logo and urban graphics.

As an authorised manufacturer for train livery material supplier 3M, Aura Graphics used Controltac Graphic Film with Comply Adhesive IJ180C from 3M for the Poppy Express wrap.  “99 per cent of all train wraps that Aura completes are printed on 3M film,” said Tim Locke, General Manager for Rail Applications and Refurbishment, Aura Graphics.  “Controltac Graphic Film IJ180C is the existing film used on the First Capital Connect Fleet and is fully compliant with required rail standards.  Its permanent adhesive ensures maximum durability for long-term applications and an anti-graffiti protective layer keeps the train looking as it should for longer.”

Controltac Graphic Film IJ180C and Scotchgard Graphic and Surface Protection Film 8993 were donated by 3M for the Poppy Appeal project.  The first is an opaque film that produces high quality, long-term graphics with selected piezo ink jet printers (Aura Graphics used the HP Pressjet printer).  Its pressure-activated adhesive and pressure activated Comply Adhesive allow for easier installation of large fleet graphics.  The second is a gloss anti-graffiti rail overlaminate that ensures graphics remain in great condition.  It can withstand the harsh solvents that are needed to clean the surface and remove graffiti to uphold branding image throughout the life of the graphic or duration of a brand campaign.

Larry Heyman added:  “Everyone was delighted with the end result – the wrap was finished professionally and to a very high standard. Those in attendance at the nameplate launch and reception on 24 October were thrilled with what they saw.  It has been a real honour to complete this poppy wrap for the Royal British Legion.”

The Poppy Express launch event was kicked off by ‘the face’ of the Poppy Appeal, Hemel Hempstead resident and serviceman Corporal Kemp from Unit 36 Engineer Regiment who was injured in Afghanistan in 2010.  The nameplate was then unveiled to around 50 guests followed by a lunch reception and speeches on board the train. Attendees included representatives from First Capital Connect, Aura Graphics and the Royal British Legion fundraising team, together with the following dignitaries:

  • HRH The Queen's representative: The Countess of Verulam, Lord-Lieutenant  of Hertfordshire
  • The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP for Welwyn Hatfield, Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
  • Richard H Smith, Chairman of Hertfordshire County Council
  • Colonel Kevin Fitzgerald, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and President of The Royal British Legion Hertfordshire
  • The Right Worshipful Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield, Councillor Howard Morgan.

For more information about 3M graphic solutions visit www.wrapyourcurves.co.uk or www.3M.co.uk/graphicsolutions. Follow 3M on facebook.com/3MgraphicsUK or twitter.com/3MgraphicsUK

For more information about Aura Graphics, visit www.auragraphics.com

3M, Controltac, Comply and Scotchgard are trademarks of 3M Company.
The Royal British Legion is the owner of The Royal British Legion trademark and poppy image.

Press contacts:
Penelope Webley           
3M Architectural Finishes            
Tel: 01344 857276            
Email: pwebley@mmm.com

Beky Cann
Neesham Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0) 1296 628180
Email: bekyc@neesham.co.uk