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A campaign giving parents the tools to educate children about rail safety.

Network Rail and Mattel

Each year, we see an increasing number of children trespassing, taking risks or just not knowing how to stay safe near the railway.

Having conversations about rail safety with children when they’re young can really help them understand the dangers of taking risks when they’re older, but many parents don’t know how to start that conversation, or think their children won’t understand.

Network Rail enlisted the help of Mattel’s world-famous Thomas the Tank Engine to help teach young people about why staying safe when using or travelling near the railway is so important. They asked Eleven to help them develop digital and printed materials to help promote the launch of their ‘Stay Safe with Thomas’ short episode on rail safety.

A campaign giving parents the tools to educate children about rail safety.

Network Rail and Mattel

Project summary

  • Campaign strategy
  • Concept development
  • Copywriting
  • Digital design
  • Graphic design


Although this campaign was a collaborative partnership between Network Rail and Mattel, we needed to ensure that the Thomas & Friends brand took the lead in the overall look and feel of our creative treatment.

We designed a suite of campaign materials which signposted people to the ‘Switched On’ website via QR codes or a URL. The creative was deployed across a range of formats, including:

  • Digital display screens in 20 Network Rail managed stations
  • D6 JC Decaux screens
  • Network Rail’s social channels (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)
  • Pull-up banners
  • Public address systems in 20 Network Rail managed stations
  • Tote bags with Thomas & Friends goodies for influencers

Although the Thomas & Friends branding took the lead in the promotional assets, we also needed to make it very clear that this was a campaign about rail safety. So we used the Network Rail logo in each of the assets to help demonstrate this.

As part of our strategy to extend the reach of the campaign, we formed a partnership with the Instagram influencer Sophie McCartney (@tiredandtested) to share the campaign with her wide network of followers who matched our target audience. We also worked with Mumsnet to recruit seven micro and mini-micro influencers with children aged 3-6 to attend Network Rail’s rail safety event in London Victoria, as well as creating content for their social channels. This was complemented by targeted display advertising onsite to help amplify awareness.

Mock ups of the stop look and listen posters we designed.


After just three weeks of the campaign going live, the Thomas & Friends landing page was the most viewed page on the ‘Switched On’ website - with 3,098 page views, and the episode had a total of 1,162 views. Within two months, 104 primary schools had subscribed to the Thomas & Friends dedicated safety broadcast featuring the episode on Learn Live’s Primary Live channel.

The Instagram partnership with Sophie McCartney reached a total of 100,349 Instagram accounts and achieved a total of 931 interactions. 7 family influencers attended the launch event at London Victoria (with 188,400 Instagram followers between them). Their subsequent Instagram posts resulted in:

  • 123,688 impressions
  • 9,146 engagements
  • 5% influencer engagement rate (Vs 1.67% industry average)

80,329 passengers passed through London Victoria during the safety performances - up 19% compared to the same period the week before. And images captured by the Press Association at London Victoria featured in The Morning Star (with a daily circulation of 20k).

Thanks to this campaign, many more parents have been able to have that crucial conversation about rail safety with their children.


"It was a pleasure working with Eleven on the launch of the ‘Stay Safe with Thomas’ short episode on rail safety. We were really impressed with how well they got into the mindset of our target audience, advising us on the best assets to create and course of action to reach them."

Media Relations Manager

Network Rail

A young girl holding a tote bag with the 'stop look and listen' branding.
Stickers with the 'stop look and listen' branding.
A young girl standing in a station, in front of a thomas the tank engine installation.