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Highlights for Allen & Overy LLP’s β€˜outstanding’ department included advising the funders and joint bookrunners on the €1.25bn secured corporate refinancing of Alpha Trains; assisting the funders to 3i and CrΓ©dit Agricole with their bid to acquire a 40% stake in Eurostar from the UK Government; and acting for B Logistics on the financing, operating and leasing of nearly 1,300 Shimmns railcars. Other clients include HS1, Etihad Rail, Qatar Rail and Bombardier. Jonathan Bevan leads the β€˜experienced’ team, which includes construction head Nigel Pritchard, Conrad Andersen, David Lee, who heads the global infrastructure group, Mario Jacovides, who is global head of the structured and asset finance group, and Tim Conduit.

The β€˜comprehensive and friendly’ team at Ashurst attracts praise for its β€˜client-centric approach’. Highlights included advising TfL and DLR on the Docklands Light Railway new rolling stock project, and advising London Underground and TfL on the procurement of rolling stock. Crossrail, National Express, Abellio, Virgin Trains and Hitachi Rail are also clients. Mark Elsey heads the team, which includes Terence van Poortvliet, who is noted for his β€˜very strong subject knowledge’, and Naomi Horton, who β€˜brings considerable industry experience to any deal’.

Burges Salmon LLP fields a team that is β€˜in touch with industry developments’ and is noted for its β€˜lateral and strategic thinking’. The practice acted for FirstGroup on its successful bid for the TransPennine Express Franchise, and is acting for all of the freight operating companies (including Colas Rail, DB Schenker and Mendip Rail) on Network Rail’s procurement and implementation of the European Train Control System freight project. Chris Jackson leads the transport practice, which includes Brioney Thomas, who is β€˜good at exploring different approaches’ and heads the rail team. Also recommended are head of rail health and safety Ann Metherall, who is β€˜a very good tactician’; the β€˜excellent’ Philip Beer, who heads the rail infrastructure team; and Simon Coppen, who leads on rail franchising.

Paul Carrington leads Clifford Chance LLP’s β€˜renowned’ department, which advised a consortium comprising CDPQ and Hermes on its acquisition of a 40% equity stake in Eurostar from the UK government, and advised SMBC and KfW on the debt financing of the procurement of a new fleet of passenger rolling stock for the ScotRail franchise. The team also acted for Lombard on the debt financing of the procurement of new sleeper rolling stock for the Caledonian Sleeper service. Ranbir Hunjan is also recommended. Gavin Teague has retired.

Highlights for the practice at Dentons (which attracts praise for its β€˜in-depth industry expertise’) included advising MTR on its mobilisation of the Β£1.4bn concession to operate Crossrail and on its bid for the London Overground concession; advising Network Rail on the mobilisation of the East Coast franchise, awarded to Virgin Stagecoach; and assisting KKR with the rail aspects of its acquisition of Trainline. The β€˜exceptional’ Matthew Hanslip Ward leads the team, which includes Christopher McGee-Osborne, who is noted for his β€˜wealth of knowledge’; Virginia Glastonbury, who handles rail infrastructure projects; and β€˜excellent’ managing associate Martin Watt.

Eversheds LLP is β€˜a first-class operator’ for rail franchising matters; in 2015 the firm advised the DfT on several strategic rail franchise deals including the Great Western, East Midlands, TransPennine Express and Northern Rail franchises. The team is also advising the DfT and HS2 Ltd on phase 1 of HS2. Anne Harris and Mark Brunton lead the team, which includes Agnes Koko, David Jones, Stephen Collings and the β€˜outstanding’ Monica Peto.

The β€˜strong’ team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is led by Patrick Mitchell and includes Adrian Clough, who is β€˜a brilliant operator’; the β€˜first-rate’ Tim Briggs; and of counsel John Williams, who β€˜has a great reputation’. Highlights included advising HS2 Ltd on the procurement of rail infrastructure, rail systems and rolling stock, and advising Inter City Railways Limited (ICRL), a joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin, on its successful Β£3.3bn bid for the InterCity East Coast (ICEC) rail franchise.

Led by Fiona Hobbs, Linklaters LLP’s team advised on the Shaw Report into the future financing of Network Rail. Other highlights included advising Amey Project Ventures and Amey Rail on an electrification project for the Hull to Selby rail line, and advising SNCB/NMBS, the Belgian national railway company, on the UK government’s sale of its 40% stake in Eurostar. Also recommended are Charlotte Morgan, who is β€˜first-rate’, the β€˜excellent’ Stuart Rowson, and Bruce White.

Norton Rose Fulbright is β€˜easy to work with, knowledgeable, and provides very sensible solutions and alternatives’. Highlights included advising the DfT on the re-letting of the ICEC franchise, which was awarded to ICRL, and acting as lenders’ counsel to the IFC on the development and operation of three concessions in Pakistan as well as associated procurement of rolling stock by Pakistan Intermodal Limited. Team head Tom Johnson is β€˜practical, calm and knowledgeable’. Donald Warnock, Andrew Buisson, and of counsel Louise Auty are also recommended.

Stephenson Harwood stands out for its β€˜understanding of the framework, governance policy and process across the rail industry’. The team advised Arriva UK Trains on its bid for the concession to operate London Overground services, assisted Abellio Transport Holdings with its bid for the new East Anglia franchise, and acted for TfL on the regulatory and access aspects of the Crossrail project. Graeme McLellan heads the team, which includes Tammy Samuel (who is β€˜very well respected’), Suzanne Tarplee, Jonathan Cripps and Lisa Marks.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s cross-practice rail group advised Angel Trains on the re-leasing of fleets of trains owned by Angel Trains, and continues to advise Land Securities on the Ebbsfleet and Eastern Quarry development as part of the UK government’s Thames Gateway initiative, including new Channel Tunnel and domestic railway stations. Key figures include Russell Clifford, who leads the team, the β€˜excellent’ Jamie Wiseman-Clarke, and James Marshall, who is experienced in competition matters.

Bond Dickinson LLP is praised for its β€˜client-orientated approach’. Highlights included advising Abellio on its procurement of 70 new trains from Hitachi Rail, and on the rolling stock lease required for the commencement of the ScotRail franchise. The team also advised Govia on its ultimately unsuccessful bid for the Northern franchise. Department head David Rewcastle is noted for his β€˜towering intellect, and measured and calm approach’, and Paul Coleman is singled out for his β€˜ability to simplify complex issues’. Also recommended are the β€˜exceptionally knowledgeable’ Kevin Bell, who was recently promoted to partner, and β€˜tenacious’ and β€˜hardworking’ managing associate Will Bonas.

CMS advised AMP Capital and a syndicate of its managed funds on the joint acquisition of a shareholding in Angel Trains from Arcus European Infrastructure Fund, as well as stakes held by Prime and STC. Eurostar instructed the team on the UK government’s sale of its 40% stake to Patina Rail LLP. Bill Carr has β€˜a wealth of experience’ and Glasgow-based Eleanor Lane is β€˜outstanding’. Jonathan Beckitt is now a consultant.

Key highlights for David Moore’s team at Clyde & Co LLP included advising Arriva on the purchase of rolling stock for the Northern rail franchise. Victor Rae-Reeves has β€˜vast experience in the sector’ and senior associate Angharad Reynolds is also recommended. Nigel Taylor joined Watson Farley & Williams LLP in November 2015.

The β€˜highly regarded’ team at DLA Piper advised Agility Trains West on the refinancing of debt facilities in connection with the DfT’s GWML Intercity Express programme, and is advising the DfT on the Thameslink rolling stock programme. Colin Wilson heads the team in London, which includes Iain Bowler. Sharon Fitzgerald in Edinburgh and Robert Smith in Leeds are also recommended.

Praised for its β€˜strength in depth’, Hogan Lovells International LLP advised Cross London Trains on the Β£2.5bn Thameslink rolling stock programme and continues to advise the DfT on its Β£7.2bn Intercity Express programme. It also advised Lombard on the Β£170m procurement, financing and leasing of new CAF sleeper trains. Key figures include Andrew Briggs, who is β€˜very experienced’, Simon Gwynne, Adrian Walker (who is β€˜excellent’), of counsel Charles Ford and Andrew Gallagher.

Noted for its rail-related infrastructure and construction expertise, Pinsent Masons LLP’s highlights included assisting The Mayor of London, on behalf of the Greater London Authority and TfL, on petitions against the HS2 Bill. In addition, the team has been appointed by RATP to advise on its bid to be retained by Transport for Greater Manchester on the operating and maintenance of the new Manchester tram system. Team head Jon Hart has β€˜excellent projects expertise’. Nigel Blundell and Robbie Owen (national head of infrastructure, planning and government affairs) are also recommended.

Simmons & Simmons is β€˜quick to grasp difficult technical issues, and has a high appreciation of commercial and practical business principles’. The team is advising Etihad Rail on contractors and consultants claims, and acted as transaction counsel to the MoD on the Logistic Commodities & Services Transformation project. Juliet Reingold has β€˜in-depth expertise’ and Navneet Juty β€˜understands the detail’. Helen Hancock and Rob Horne are also noted.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP advises on the planning, promotion and statutory authorisation of major rail projects and has β€˜in-depth knowledge of the law’. Team head Paul Irving and Hazel Anderson deliver β€˜superb client service’, and are recommended alongside Alison Gorlov, Brian Greenwood and senior associate Jane Wakeham.

The β€˜proactive’ and β€˜knowledgeable’ team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP advised Hitachi Rail Europe on First Great Western’s procurement of rolling stock for the West of England, and advised the DfT on the Intercity West Coast franchise. Department head Paul Hirst has β€˜strong industry knowledge’ and a β€˜commercial outlook’. Jacqui Langley-White and managing associate Andrew Sykes are also recommended.

Osborne Clarke’s rail department is headed by the β€˜outstanding’ Lara Burch and β€˜has excellent industry knowledge’. It is advising Arriva UK Trains on the direct award of the next CrossCountry franchise by the DfT, and is advising Eversholt Rail Group on an order of super express trains for the Great Western Mainline service. Also recommended are Clive Smith, who is experienced in rolling stock finance, Simon Smith, Charlie Wedin and associate director Jeremy Godley.

Headline clients for the team at Shoosmiths LLP include Stagecoach Group, South West Trains, Hitachi Rail Europe, East Midlands Trains, and Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe. Chris McClure is noted for his β€˜all-round grasp of the commercial issues at stake’; he was joined by Martin Fleetwood in 2015, which β€˜has added to the strength and depth of the team’ according to clients. Ursula Gould and Joanne McGuinness are also recommended.

White & Case LLP’s β€˜knowledgeable’ team continues to advise Qatar Rail on the construction of the Qatar Integrated Railway project, and is advising Vale on the development and financing of the $4.4bn Nacala Corridor project. Phillip Capper, Ellis Baker and Caroline Miller Smith are recommended.

Bircham Dyson Bell is praised for its β€˜good knowledge and understanding of the railway industry’. The firm was appointed to advise TfL on all aspects of the authorisation of Crossrail 2. Angus Walker heads the team, which includes Ian McCulloch, who is now a consultant.

Fieldfisher provides β€˜timely, accurate advice’ and is advising Abellio on its procurement of a wide area network service from Vodafone for Abellio’s rail operations and group headquarters. Key figures include John Worthy, who provides β€˜excellent advice and service against tight deadlines’, and John Cassels, who is β€˜fantastic’.

β€˜Industry experts’ Sara Hollingworth and Helen Bissell are the key figres at Hollingworth Bissell.

Matthew Smith heads the team at K&L Gates LLP, which acts for TfL, Qatar Rail, London Underground, Metropex Group and Tube Lines.

Kennedys is a leading firm for defending criminal prosecutions in the rail industry. Team head Richard Crockford has β€˜excellent tactical awareness and good commercial judgement’.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP welcomed Nigel Taylor from Clyde & Co LLP in November 2015. Ascendos Rail Leasing and Nacco are clients. Rex Rosales heads the team.

DWF is advising Transport Scotland on the procurement of the Caledonian Sleeper and ScotRail franchise. Andrew Mayne is β€˜highly regarded’.

Clients of Giles Clifford’s team at Gowling WLG include TfL, London Underground, Crossrail and VTG.

Lee Bolton Monier-Williams has a particular focus on rail-related property matters. Keith Wallace is the key contact.

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