LONDON — Virgin Trains has kicked off a big-budget review of consumer PR duties that will not involve incumbent Hope & Glory, the Holmes Report can reveal.

The assignment is thought to cover PR and social media duties, expected to be worth a high six-figure fee. Six UK PR agencies have been invited to submit credentials. Virgin Trains previously split PR and social media duties between Hope&Glory and Nonsense, respectively.

Hope&Glory became Virgin Trains' first retained consumer PR partner in mid-2014, but has declined the opportunity to defend the assignment.

"We've politely declined the opportunity to repitch," said Hope&Glory managing partner Jo Carr. "We've had a great three years creating Christmas Trains, making Beard Caps, unveiling a new Flying Scotsman, launching pregnancy menus and of course announcing the arrival of the Azuma to the East Coast.

"While we've loved working with Virgin Trains, we agreed it's time to part company as their needs have changed." Virgin Trains added the East Coast franchise to its West Coast line in 2015.                     

"Hope & Glory has been an excellent PR partner for the last three years and has worked with us to evolve our consumer PR to where it is today," said a Virgin Trains spokesperson. 

"However, as our needs continue to evolve, we think it is time to look afresh at the market to see who best matches our requirements going forward. We have asked six agencies to provide us with creds and will select a number to pitch competitively from those."

The review comes with Virgin Trains currently pitching creative duties for its East Coast and West Coast lines.