"We’re delighted to be able to show our appreciation to Gareth and the team by renaming the station in his honour."
The football World Cup may now be over but it seems that transport operators from three of the four top-finishing participating nations are not so keen to wait another four years, with Paris, Brussels and London all honouring their heroes with a change to some of their most famous train stations. With an all-European top-four this year that also featured Croatia, France Belgium and England all used the bold logos and fonts from their capital cities’ networks to show their appreciation… at least for a few days.
[#MercilesBleus] La #RATP célèbre l’@equipedefrance sur son réseau. On vous dévoile 6 nouvelles stations de métro en l'honneur des Bleus #ChampionsDuMonde ! 🏆 🎁 Toutes les infos ➡ https://t.co/9TdZq7Uwmp #FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/lAGJhLuBm8— Groupe RATP (@GroupeRATP) July 16, 2018
As winners, France perhaps unsurprisingly changed the most, with the operator of transport in Paris RATP Group (@GroupeRATP) temporarily amending stations that referenced the country's goalkeeper and their manager. Rebranding six stations in total, examples on the Paris Metro included Victor Hugo, which was changed to ‘Victor Hugo Lloris’; Notre-Dame des Champs to ‘Notre Didier Deschamps’; while Etoile to ‘On a 2 Etoiles’ (in reference to the two World Cups that France has now won).
Taking something of a more straightforward route, Transport for London (TfL) and the tournament sponsor, Visa, used North London’s Southgate station to let the national manager know it was thinking of him, adding the name Gareth to the front of the London Underground emblem for a 48-hour period. Even going to the effort of changing the large illuminated outdoor sign, @TfL encouraged its passengers to support the England manger and the team by taking a selfie in front of it using the #SouthgateSelfie Twitter handle. It’s unclear whether train drivers used the Piccadilly line’s updated name in their announcements, however!
Not to be outdone, Belgium sang the praises of their third-placed team by naming what many would consider to the country’s player of the tournament: Eden Hazard. Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (@STIBMIVB), Brussel's transport operator, updated the Arts-Loi metro stop to the east of the city to ‘Hazarts-Loi’.
Commenting on the name change on the London Underground station, Mark Wild, TfL’s managing director, said: “The great performance of the England team this summer brought people of all ages together in celebration. We’re delighted to be able to show our appreciation to Gareth and the team by renaming the station in his honour.”
It’s not the first time that rail networks have forgone traditional names for more commercial ones. The practice was used by Madrid in 2013, when Spain’s capital city boosted revenue by around £2.6 million to add the name of the telecommunications company, Vodafone, to one of its lines. The three-year deal for the Line 2 Vodafone which also saw Sol station add the phone company name to its own, enabled the company to use its logo on Madrid Metro maps and in entrances, forecourts and corridors.
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Download: The Rail & Metro Innovation Guide 2018.