Ten years ago, Connex, a subsidiary of the French corporation Veolia Environnement, was awarded by the State Government of Victoria a contract to operate the suburban rail lines in Melbourne, Victoria. Over the years, as a combination of lack of government support and mismanagement by Connex, the train service has been anything but stellar and has been widely criticized by its riders. This past June, the State Government of Victoria stripped Connex’s contract and, starting in November of this year, the responsibilities will fall to Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM), Metro to the public, an enterprise formed my majority owner MTR Corporation — based in Hong Kong and operating that city’s train lines — and two minority Australian owners, John Holland Group and United Group Rail. The announcement earlier this month came with a look at the new identity.
The Connex logo wasn’t anything to get to excited about, and that “x” was downright clunky so, seemingly like the service, any change was welcome. The new logo skews to the funky and contemporary with a very nice “M” icon and some Tron-like lettering, and both elements are placed inside a wonky shape — the logo above was taken from their web site, while Wikipedia shows another version. I really like the icon, it’s simple, memorable and will be easy to spot. I kind of like the wordmark, although the “E” and “T” are questionable. And I dislike the holding shape, it seems unnecessary.
The limited identity extensions available, mainly their web site, shows promise and seems to blend well with the new City of Melbourne identity, in its fragmented approach. Below is the background that peeks through the web site, obviously representing connections and train stops. I bet it will look pretty cool on the train, per the rendering above. Overall, this is a great way to introduce the new train service and to ensure that the public at least sees the difference and the changes to come. Or not.