International Artists Day

It’s International Artists Day, encouraging the support of local artists. On the railway, we’re proud to work with artists to celebrate and enhance communities across Britain.

Here are five times artwork has brightened up the network:

1. Regeneration in Pontypridd

This month we shared our latest murals – on Pontypridd railway bridge. We teamed up again with Lionel Stanhope, known for his typography work, to contribute to the regeneration of the area:

Lionel, who has worked on projects for Hollywood films and streaming site Netflix, mirrored vintage railway signs for his first mural in Wales. They feature the lettering ‘Pontypridd’ on one side of the wall and ‘Graig’ on the opposite side.

They include a row of terraced houses and an icon of the old bridge to represent the landmarks of the area. Black, yellow and red were chosen for the lettering as a nod to the colours of the Taff Vale Railway livery.

Last year, we worked with Lionel on murals across London, in an aim to inspire pride in neighbourhoods and encourage respect for our bridges and other structures.

2. A bridge, the Bard and Burbage

Lionel’s Pontypridd creation followed the unveiling of his portrait of Shakespearean actor Richard Burbage to mark the 400-year anniversary of his death:

Burbage is widely considered the first great actor of English theatre. He played many of the major Shakespearean characters, including Othello, Hamlet, King Lear and Richard III.

We collaborated with the residents of Burbage Road in Dulwich, London, where their Exit: Burbage project aims to put one of England’s greatest actors back in the spotlight.

The railway bridge mural was the 50th on our South East route. We’ve been turning railway bridges in London, Sussex and Kent into stunning works of art thanks to our partnerships with community groups.


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3. Glasgow Queen Street

Last summer, Glasgow-based artist Gabriella Marcella unveiled a huge piece at Scotland’s third busiest station as part of a £120m redevelopment of Glasgow Queen Street:

Gabriella, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, created a piece inspired by the city to face onto Glasgow’s main civic square.

Gabriella said: “I was asked to produce a bold design which was modular, adaptable and unique to the setting. The artwork includes motifs inspired by the Glasgow coat of arms and the legend of St Mungo as well as old railway semaphore signals and other more abstract imagery.”

4. Face of Suffrage

A stunning art installation marking 100 years since women were first given the right to vote was laid at Birmingham New Street station in November last year.

The ‘Face of Suffrage’ artwork, a floor-based, 200 metre-square photo mosaic, comprised more than 3,700 images of females from across the West Midlands and beyond.

When viewed from above it showed Hilda Burkitt, a leading face from the suffrage movement in the West Midlands.

Evelyn Hilda Burkitt was born in Wolverhampton in 1876 and died in 1955. She was the first suffragette to be forcibly fed a total of 292 times and worked at the Birmingham WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union) headquarters, in Ethel Street, near New Street station.

Hilda threw a stone at Prime Minister Herbert Asquith’s train as it pulled out of Birmingham New Street after he attended a male only budget meeting and she was imprisoned at Winson Green prison.

5. London Bridge tribute

In February last year, street artist Jimmy C, known in London for his work paying tribute to David Bowie and William Shakespeare, produced a major work of art in memory of the London Bridge terror attacks:

The work shows a series of hearts floating in space and is painted under one of Network Rail’s arches on Stoney Street, in Southwark. The attacks, on June 3, 2017, took place in the surrounding area.

Jimmy said: “London is a great city, a city of the world, with people from all cultures living and working here. The terror attacks shocked everyone who loves our city. It is a great honour to be able to create a lasting image to the memory of those who lost their lives and to the resilience and spirit of London.”