Rugby Colour Palette - Launch Event

New community inspired artwork unveiled at Rugby station

Avanti West Coast and Heart of England Community Rail Partnership join forces to celebrate Rugby through the power of colour.

  • Artwork known as the Rugby Colour Palette unveiled at station to help celebrate the town’s attractions
  • Colours reflecting the character Rugby chosen by renowned local artist Stacey Barnfield following public consultation
  • Heart of England Community Rail Partnership invite local schools to Rugby station to enjoy immersive art workshop to mark its launch

A new piece of community inspired artwork has been unveiled at Rugby station thanks to the backing of Avanti West Coast and the Heart of England Community Rail Partnership. 

The Rugby Colour Palette went on display last week at the station to help promote the character of the town. Funded by Avanti West Coast Project Fund, the Heart of England Community Rail Partnership worked with artist Stacey Barnfield from Draw My City, to develop the project.

The colours were chosen from the ideas that arose from a public consultation, the aim of which was to get respondents to celebrate their hometown. At its heart were a number of school and community workshops delivered by Ruby Road, a Warwickshire based storytelling collective, and its creative producer Jo Chalkblack.

Working with the project partners, Stacey brought to life the many ideas, creating three colour palettes with the themes History and Heritage, Creativity and Culture, and Industry and Innovation.  The colours chosen are a mix of direct references to suggestions from the public as well as more thought-provoking choices designed to encourage conversation around the palette.

The colours include:

Market Apple - Rugby was established as a Market Town in 1255 and still has weekly markets where you can find an array locally produced goods, fresh fruit, vegetables, artisan products, and clothing.

School Days Brown - Tom Brown's School Days by Thomas Hughes was published in 1857. The story is set in the 1830s at Rugby School, an English public school founded by a Tudor merchant and benefactor Lawrence Sheriff, who was notable for being grocer to Queen Elizabeth I.  Hughes attended the school from 1834 to 1842 and the much of the novel is based on his experience.

Webb Ellis Bronze - According to legend, the sport of rugby was born in 1823 when Rugby schoolboy William Webb Ellis, whilst playing football took the ball in his arms and ran with it.  In 1997 a bronze-cast statue of William Webb Ellis by sculptor Graham Ibbeson was installed outside the main Rugby School gates.

More details of the colours, and the stories behind them can be found here.

Sarah Sheldon, Station Manager for Avanti West Coast at Rugby added: “Rugby is one of our key stations on the West Coast Main Line. But outside of those who live here, very few are aware of its wonderful character and history. We hope the new colour palette will help share the town’s story and encourage more people to visit.”

To help launch The Rugby Colour Palette, Councillor Maggie O'Rourke, Mayor of Rugby was joined by school children from Riverside Academy and Rugby Free Primary at the station who enjoyed an immersive art workshop led by the Community Rail Partnership.


Julia Singleton-Tasker, Lead Officer, Heart of England Community Rail Partnership added: “It was great to see the transformation that the colour palette has brought to the subway and to see the reactions on everyone’s faces when they saw it for the first time. The passion for Rugby has shone through since day one, and I’d like to thank all those who have played their part in bringing The Rugby Colour Palette to life.”

Artist Stacey Barnfield added: “I’ve learnt so much about Rugby, a town steeped in history and full of character. The colours hopefully tell just some of the story and I’d encourage anyone who has yet to visit, to consider jumping on the train and enjoying some time here.”

Main image (left to right): Sarah Sheldon (Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Rugby), Stacey Barnfield, Cllr Maggie O'Rourke (Mayor of Rugby), Julia Singleton-Tasker (Heart of England CRP), Sarah Annis (Ruby Red) and Marlon Golding (Team Leader at Rugby Station)

Contact Information

Richard Stanton

Avanti West Coast


Notes to editors

About Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.

We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel. Our refurbed Pendolinos are returning to the rails, with a £117m investment that’s delivering best in class comfort. Rebuilt using sustainable materials wherever possible, including tables made from recycled plastic bottles, our upgraded fleet offers 25,000 brand new seats, free Wi-Fi, onboard recycling and much more.

New Hitachi trains are set to replace our Voyager trains from 2024, leading to a 61% cut in carbon emissions. Quieter and roomier, with more reliable Wi-Fi, wireless charging for electrical devices and a real-time customer information system, the new 23-strong fleet is the result of a £350m investment in sustainable travel.

We’re tackling climate change wherever we can, from reducing energy and water use to training drivers in eco-driving techniques and sourcing food and drink from local suppliers. Our goal is to be net zero carbon by 2031. We’re on track.

For the latest news, visit the Avanti West Coast Media Centre: https://newsdesk.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/

Press Office: 0845 000 3333

About Stacey Barnfield

Stacey Barnfield is a Birmingham-based artist, designer, and writer with a fascination for the heritage and history of the Midlands from a design, typography, and ‘place’ perspective.

The Colour Palette concept was launched during the pandemic lockdown when Stacey created branding for landmarks people were unable to visit due to new travel guidelines, but were sorely missed by those who enjoyed passing or visiting on a daily basis. More of Stacey’s work can be seen through the Draw My City artworks project, which encourages people to think of lesser-known places that might not always win architecture awards but are no less important to the people who worked, danced or dined there.

Through his marketing and publishing work, Stacey produces publications in various formats that celebrate architecture and design.

About the Heart of England Community Rail Partnership (CRP)

The Heart of England CRP was founded in 2019 and is formed of 10 principal partners and funders, including Train Operating Companies and Local Authorities. The CRP covers 36 stations over three train lines in Solihull, Warwickshire and Coventry and serves a diverse range of stations, from rural request stops to larger urban stations. 

Community Rail is about integrating stations into their communities and finding out how the railways can best socially and economically support the areas they serve.  Projects covered can be anything from improving station environment through finding station adopters and commissioning art at stations, to finding creative ways to help overcome barriers that people may have to travelling on the train.


About Ruby Road

Ruby Road are a Warwickshire based storytelling collective with overactive imaginations and a passion for place. Co-founded by Sarah Annis and Red Issac.

As a collective they seek to transform public spaces through storytelling with projects that are rooted in the place and its communities. They were thrilled to be part of the recent Warwickshire ‘Our Spaces’ project, creating ‘We Shadows’ public art intervention in Stratford Upon Avon which had extensive local youth engagement. Sarah has also co-created and run engagement workshops in schools and communities throughout Warwickshire for other Our Spaces projects.

About Jo Chalkback

Jo is a Bristol based social practice artist and creative producer. She is passionate about co-creating ways to connect people with their natural and built environments and with each other exploring and mixing up a wide range of media from hands on techniques to digital. Her 10 years of using art in this way are informed by 16 years working in youth services, adult substance misuse services and 5 years working in schools. Her practice ranges from creative youth consultation film projects for local authority, interactive multicultural performance in vacant inner-city buildings to running multi-generational heritage story trails using projected film in woodland spaces. She believes that art brings people together to reimagine what is possible.