Train companies communicate a picture of disruption

If you’re trying to get to work by train and hear the phrase “There’s a tree on the tracks so all services are delayed,” how do you react?

Honestly? You’re going to be miffed to put it mildly, and frustrated as you mentally calculate alternative routes, wonder whether to reschedule meetings and look for information about when it’s expected to be resolved.

If you think about the tree on the tracks, you may suspect it’s a branch rather than a mighty oak and your social media status updates probably reflect that. Am I right?

UKStorm commsFollowing on from my article this morning about how organisations are using external channels to communicate internally about the UK storm today, it got me thinking about train companies.

Having worked in the railway for a number of years myself, plus now training teams in train operating companies (TOCs), I decided to investigate the situation today.

Many train services in the south of the UK were suspended and didn’t run until at least 9 or 10am today, which is when the worst of the #UKStorm was due to have passed.

I wanted to see how train companies have been communicating, particularly via Twitter and how they have used images.

There’s an increasing trend for TOCs to use photographs to enable customers to visualise exactly what the problems are.

Today you could see the reactions shift once people could see that there were indeed large trees uprooted and rail workers were on site battling to clear the lines and get the services up and running again.

There has been a lot of conversation today, both positive and negative, about the railway and the efforts to communicate and keep customers informed. I imagine it’s been an extremely long day for all those involved, and it isn’t over yet. Well done to everyone involved in helping keep both the lines of communication and train lines open and working.

I’ve seen some examples of exemplary communication and some that haven’t been so good. But I’m not going to look at those conversations, rather focus on how they have been communicating using images.

I’ve created a Storify so you can see for yourself and it gives you a flavour of the discussions and disruptions.

Do you use images in your comms to help convey your messages in a clearer way? I’d love to hear from you if you do and have a story to share.

Thank you as ever for stopping by,


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