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New Rail Alphabet Font

New Rail Alphabet Font

New Rail Alphabet is a revival of the British Rail alphabet designed by Margaret Calvert of Kinneir Calvert Associates in the early 1960s. The original typeface was created for signage on the British Rail network and was part of a comprehensive rebranding that included a new logo, the double arrow. New Rail Alphabet is similar to a bold weight of Helvetica, but with some differences in character shapes, stroke width and x-height to aid legibility.


The typeface was first used at Liverpool Street station and then adopted by the Design Research Unit (DRU) as the standard lettering for all British Rail stations, trains, and other facilities. It was also used by the National Health Service, Danish State Railways, and British Airports Authority. However, by the end of the 1980s, British Rail's various business units developed their own individual brands and identities, and the use of Rail Alphabet declined as a consequence.

In 2009, a newly digitized version of the typeface was publicly released. Created by Henrik Kubel of A2/SW/HK in close collaboration with Margaret Calvert, New Rail Alphabet features six weights: off white, white, light, medium, bold and black, with non-aligning numerals, corresponding italics and a set of Eastern European characters. The typeface was carefully traced from the original dyelines and subtle adjustments were made, such as extended ascenders and descenders, thinned capital letters, and narrower lining numerals.

In June 2021, a stencil version of the Roman weights was also released, New Rail Alphabet Stencil. The typeface is intended to be used for signage, wayfinding, editorial design, and branding. It has been praised for its clarity, simplicity, and elegance. It is also a tribute to the legacy of Margaret Calvert, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential graphic designers in Britain.

New Rail Alphabet is available for purchase from A2-TYPE's website. You can also see some examples of the typeface in use on Fonts In Use's website.


  • Rail Alphabet - Wikipedia

  • New Rail Alphabet A2-TYPE

  • Rail Alphabet in use - Fonts In Use

  • New Rail Alphabet

  • Britains signature - Eye Magazine

  • New Rail Alphabet Stencil

  • Margaret Calvert - Design Museum

  • A2-TYPE

  • Fonts In Use


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