Transforming a heritage railway’s brand and digital presence


ELR has services and experiences available for families, adventure seekers and rail enthusiasts.


ELR is the perfect day out destination.


Visit ELR across key calendar events and experiences, as well as for everyday train rides and to explore the Bury Transport Museum.

This was a digital transformation project that would only succeed if everyone, from the company directors to volunteers worked together, appreciated the value of making changes, and brought into the importance of focusing on the railway’s customers, not just interest groups.

Situational analysis, stakeholder interviews and qual and quant. research identified the most valuable audience groups - families, adventure seekers and rail enthusiasts - and the messages and stories to be told in order to attract these customers to activities year round.

From here, a new ELR purpose, vision and mission were created; a new personality, tone of voice and visual identity followed.

At the heart of it all was the new website. Mobile optimised to be easy to use on all devices and in all locations, the site brings to life the new visual identity with new imagery of real people enjoying a day out; and a clear and easy journey to access day out itineraries, look up events, book tickets via Quay Tickets and check timetables.

Throughout the project, communication with stakeholders was key. Democracy and the ELR marketing and customer services teams presented the findings back to the wider ELR family, taking on board their thoughts before moving forward.

Marketing research and strategy development for ELR


increase in the number of users



visits, up 105% versus prior year

More than


new users to the site


numbers of younger people by targeting the family audience

Testimonial - Gary Thomas - Director of Customer Services

The Democracy team were invaluable partners - driving forward the project at pace and bringing all key stakeholders on the journey to ensure we have a clear strategy to set us up for success and website that has not only revolutionised ELR's digital presence but is embraced by everyone at the railway. We couldn't have done it without them!

Gary Thomas, Director of Customer Services