The Manchester-based McCann beat two undisclosed agencies as well as the incumbent, Cogent Elliott, to the brief. PHD retained the account after a separate pitch.
As the lead creative agency on the account, McCann will be responsible for developing integrated campaigns aimed at helping the company meet its financial and growth targets and increase brand awareness.
The ads will run nationwide to support the company's train service, whose destinations include Aberdeen, Penzance, Stansted and Cardiff. The line was previously operated by Virgin Trains, until CrossCountry won the franchise in 2007.