Network Rail is poised to review the advertising business for its 17 stations, including Paddington, Kings Cross and Euston. It is understood that a pitch is due to start at the beginning of December.
A tender invitation through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) is being written. It is the first time the rail operator, which was created in 2002 after it acquired Railtrack, has put its advertising out to pitch.
A Network Rail spokeswoman says: “We are looking for an agency to work with us on reviewing our branding, with a view to changing and improving it.”
She adds that the operator has a number of retained agencies, such as Iris, creating consumer information campaigns regarding safety on and around its track network. The agencies are not thought to be affected by the pitch.
It is thought the decision to put the account out to pitch indicates the operator is planning to refurbish its station concourses and retail outlets. Earlier this week it announced a campaign to urge London commuters to Christmas shop at its stations.
The “Time to Shop” offers include discounts on coffee and food as well as gift items, with more than 200 stores participating across 11 stations.
The rebrand is thought to be part of a £4bn redevelopment and refurbishment project to boost passenger capacity at stations. According to Network Rail, more than 800 million passengers pass through its stations each year.