World-first Steam Illuminations puts Watercress Line back on track

The world’s first digital LED train delighted over 15,000 visitors with festive fun at one of Hampshire’s premier visitor attractions, the Watercress Line, as well as countless others who saw the magical train travelling through the Hampshire countryside.

At the end of 2020 we worked with the Watercress Line to help to bring a bit of joy and optimism to people. Despite the pandemic, the railway was able to put on a unique event that allowed people to enjoy an evening out and offered fun for all the family. Our job was to generate as much media interest as possible and ensure the event was seen by people who wanted to escape from the gloom of the pandemic for even just a few hours.

Client Watercress Line
Year 2021
Project team Gareth Miller Hannah Bergman-Brown Donna Jones
Services Press and PR
Watercress Line Steam Illuminations

Our approach

The brightly-illuminated passenger steam train created a magical show with more than 13,000 festive lights as it transported visitors of all ages along the tracks from Alresford and Alton. Passengers wore colour-changing LED wristbands on board the steam train, which was decorated inside and out with thousands of coloured LED lights programmed to flash and change patterns along the route. With a serving of seasonal music and delicious refreshments, the Watercress Line team created an atmosphere of festive cheer for everybody on the 10-mile round trip.

The outcome

The popular Steam Illuminations event, which ran from December 4 to 23, was a sell-out event, largely due to the head of steam (excuse the pun) we were able to create in the media. We managed all the media relations for the event, which included a press launch day. The press launch was attended by the BBC, ITV and Press Association, plus many more. This turbocharged the reach of the press coverage for the event reaching an audience of over 61 million people in the UK alone and further audiences across the globe.

The numbers

165 pieces of media coverage including vast national mentions on BBC News, ITV Meridian, Wave 105,, and the Daily Telegraph.

Total coverage of over 61 million.

The PR coverage gained a potential value of £844,773

Steam Train Led campaign
Steam illumination for a Xmas campaign
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