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It’s all about the experience at Whistlestop Valley, formerly known as Kirklees Light Railway. Working with the Visitor Attraction team, Icon delivered on the creation of a new name and identity that brought purpose and passion with a nod to the heritage of this much loved miniature steam railway.

For General Manager, Erin Towey, entertaining young families whilst developing a love and understanding of the role that steam played in connecting textile mills and coal mines in West Yorkshire has always been a priority.

With ambitious plans to extend the visitor proposition this was an opportune time for Icon to re-imagine the name and brand to reflect the railway park .

After undertaking extensive consultation with stakeholders and conducting research, Whistlestop Valley was born, with the strapline ‘Little Railway, Big Adventures’ capturing the essence of the high energy experience.

A bold colour palette and a set of characters, aka ‘The Steam Team’ designed to appeal to the core audience was revealed with animated social media increasing the potential for targeted interaction and engagement.

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The brand development extended to include a dynamic website showcasing all the new experiences on offer at Whistlestop Valley. Ticketing, orientation and event planning made organising visits a smooth proposition with the opportunity for merchandising building brand loyalty for Whistlestop Valley.

Outside of the school holidays, the educational markets were also developed with concepts including ‘Young Engineers’ proving popular with local and regional audiences.

To compliment the core identity, several sub brands were designed to generate an additional sense of place for new facilities including the cafe, indoor and outdoor play areas and ice cream parlour. Bespoke signage added to the wayfaring, helping to zone the spaces neatly.

To reflect the invaluable input of the friends and volunteers who maintain and operate the locomotives, the beloved Kirklees Light Railway name underwent a revamp, adding a touch of nostalgia with a modern update to the dedicated service the team run.

A huge thanks to the creative team at Icon for creating a family fun brand for Whistelstop Valley. Their approach was inclusive and articulate; helping us to really define the visitor experience from start to finish. Our new website has also given us the flexibility to increase income generation and really tell the story of steam in West Yorkshire.

Erin Towey, General Manager, Whistlestop Valley