LONDON—Virgin Trains is on the hunt for a public relations firm to lead the company's efforts to preserve and build its reputation.

The Holmes Report understands that the train operator has contacted a long-list of agencies regarding the initial assignment, with the next stage expected to involve a full-blown tender.

The review follows the UK government decision to extend Virgin Rail Group's franchise until April 2017. The extension followed a campaign by Virgin Trains and Fishburn to overturn an initial announcement that stripped the company of its franchise and awarded it to First Group.

It is not thought that Fishburn's public affairs remit is affected by the new search, which seeks to identify an agency that can enhance Virgin's brand message and support marketing activites. In particular, it is understood that Virgin Trains wants to preserve and build its reputation as a leading travel company.

Last year, Virgin Trains reviewed its advertising, digital and CRM duties, after a £7m marketing campaign that aimed to change perceptions of train travel. The business was eventually won by Krow and TMW.

Representatives from Virgin Trains did not respond to request for comment as this story went live.