Hull Trains: Generating a PR buzz with mainstream media

Hull Trains PR Strategy hero

Client: Hull Trains

Scope: Media and Communications, Live and Virtual Events, Video Production

Understanding the client

CWA has worked with longstanding client partner Hull Trains for many years to create eye-catching campaigns that boost tickets sales and promote the brand locally and across the UK. The railway operator provides long-distance passenger service trains between Hull, Beverley and London King’s Cross.

In 2019, CWA were on hand to help support Hull Trains in welcoming a new fleet of state-of-the-art Hitachi trains. Hull Trains wanted a fresh campaign that would get the public involved, create a buzz, generate positive PR and honour a Hull legend. CWA had just the (train) ticket.

Gathering insights and expertise

CWA and Hull Trains worked together to launch ‘Name That Train’, inviting members of the public to make suggestions for the names of five new trains that would reflect the history, culture and community of Hull and the East Yorkshire region – putting the city and the trains on the map.

The campaign was built on collaboration and creativity – two of CWA’s pillars for success. Using insights made possible from working with the client for many years, the CWA team devised a competition mechanic that would resonate with Hull Trains’ customer base and turn heads.

Collaborating to meet objectives

The public response was phenomenal. Thousands of entries were submitted and the extended campaign team were swamped before the naming competition unfortunately had to be put on hold due to the outbreak of coronavirus in 2020.

In 2022, the competition was revisited. A group of Hull Trains colleagues and local VIPs representing community groups, local businesses and the local media were invited to shortlist the names. Hull Trains colleagues helped shorten the list from 50 down to 15 names, and the VIPs helped further shorten the list. The names of four trains were selected by the panel, with a fifth and final name going to a public vote.

Over 2,500 people voted online and the eventual winner, ‘Jean Bishop – The Bee Lady’, received more than half of the votes. She was an adored Hull resident who spent 30 years fundraising in her hometown and raised more than £125,000 for Age UK Hull, dressed as a bumblebee.

Delivering added-value results

Showcasing expertise in integrated PR, social media, video and event management activity, CWA worked with Hull Trains to hold a press event which welcomed the newly-named train into Paragon Station.

The event was covered extensively by press including the BBC, ITV, and local media outlets, with the story continuing to generate headlines for many weeks after the event had passed.

One of the biggest successes of ‘Name That Train’ was the way in which participating stakeholders were included as industry influencers in all activity to help maximise results and engagement. CWA provided a communications toolkit to support community groups, local businesses and VIPs to push the message out via their own communications and social media channels.

This approach attracted the interest of several national companies that piggybacked the event and proved a highly successful approach in generating national attention using earned media.

The result


People reached via press coverage


Social media interactions


PR stories created and shared

Case studies

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