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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Transport > Rail > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Rail
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Benefitting from 'in-depth expertise' Allen & Overy LLP handles complex and high-value rail transactions. It offers particular experience in infrastructure, concessions and rolling stock, and acts for governments, sponsors, financiers and manufacturers. Leveraging its global footprint, the team handles a number of complex, cross-border instructions. Department head Jonathan Bevan stands out for his infrastructure and transport expertise across financings, development, construction, public-private partnerships and construction. Bevan and Richard Evans led advice for Hitachi Rail Europe on its disposal of a 30% stake in Agility Trains West to a consortium comprised of Dalmore Capital, Equitix Investment Management, Japan Infrastructure Initiative Company and Rock Rail Holdings.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Bevan

Other key lawyers:Richard Evans; Tim Conduit; Sara Pickersgill; Mario Jacovides; Tom Lindley; Elizabeth Evans

Key Clients

3i Infrastructure

Angel Trains

Alpha Trains/Arcus

Beacon Rail


Eversholt Rail

JP Morgan Infrastructure Investment Funds







Work highlights

  • Advised 3i Infrastructure on the disposal of its 33.3% interest in Thameslink to Dalmore and Equitix
  • Advised the lenders on the Angel Trains Group’s £835m of new funding to refinance the procurement of 665 Bombardier Aventra vehicles that will be leased to the Abellio Greater Anglia franchise from 2019.
  • Advised the lenders on a new bilateral term debt facility for Angel Trains.
  • Advised the lenders on the provision of new facilities for Beacon Rail.

With a 'detailed understanding of the rail sector', Ashurst has 'considerable depth of experience and has good technical legal skills'; and it houses 'some of the top rail specialists in the market'. It advises on a gamut of complex UK and global rail deals; the team handles infrastructure development, projects, rolling stock procurement, financing, franchising, regulatory and commercial mandates. It acts for public sector clients, franchisees, rolling stock and equipment suppliers, and rolling stock financiers. Naomi Horton, who 'always seeks solutions' and Jonathan Turner, who is 'very knowledgeable on the legal and regulatory aspects of the sector', advised KeolisAmey on its successful bid for, and subsequent mobilisation of, the £5bn Wales & Borders franchise, handled infrastructure transfer matters for the Core Valley Lines and advised on the procurement of four new fleets of trains for the franchise. Elsewhere, Terence Van Poortvliet provides 'efficient advice, has good strategic vision and wide experience', while Mark Elsey is 'very proactive and responsive in helping clients understand the commercial and legal nuances of complex project development contracts and structures'. Senior associate Stuart Cottis delivers 'efficient contractual negotiations in complex projects'.

Practice head(s):Terence Van Poortvliet; Mark Elsey; Naomi Horton

Other key lawyers:Derwin Jenkinson; Jonathan Turner; Stuart Cottis


'Naomi Horton stands out for her creativity and strength in negotiations'.

'It has very deep industry knowledge'.

'It impresses with its general technical skills, negotiation skills, clarity and communication'.

'The team has excellent strength-in-depth'.

'Its strengths lie in its ability to work well and alongside in-house legal teams'.

'It uses its skills and experience to provide pragmatic legal and commercial advice'.

'The team is able to deliver no-nonsense and focused legal and commercial solutions'.

'Terence Van Poortvliet and Jonathan Turner have an exceptionally proactive, pragmatic and commercial approach'.

'It provides a seamless service'.

'The team is experienced in innovative forms of rail franchising and development agreements'.

Key Clients


Transport for London (including London Underground, Docklands Light Railway and Rail for London)

National Express



UK Government

Department for Transport


Alstom Transport

Hitachi Rail Europe

City of Edinburgh Council

BP plc

Virgin Trains

Balfour Beatty Investments


Rail Safety and Standards Board


Angel Trains


European Investment Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised London Underground and Transport for London on the procurement of rolling stock for the New Tube for London/Deep Tube Upgrade Project.
  • The team is advising the Department for Transport on the proposed Western Rail Link to Heathrow project.
  • The team is advising Virgin, Stagecoach and SNCF on their bid for the new flagship West Coast Partnership franchise with the Department for Transport, including the new HS2 service to take over after the West Coast franchise Direct Award.
  • The team is advising City of Edinburgh Council on all matters relating to the extension of the Edinburgh tram system from York Place to Newhaven.
  • The team advised the Department for Transport on bespoke complex contractual arrangements to transfer operation of the Heathrow Express Rail Service from Heathrow Airport Ltd to the Great Western franchisee; and the potential incorporation of the franchised services within the Great Western franchise.

Burges Salmon LLP has a 'depth of rail knowledge and experience, coupled with a very practical approach'; it has recently handled a range of franchising, procurement, infrastructure and rolling stock projects for clients including leading rail operators and government bodies. Regulatory work is also a key strength of the team, which is noted for its EU law and health and safety expertise. With 'exceptional knowledge of the rail industry', Simon Coppen is noted for commercial contracts, procurement and regulatory matters, while head of rail Brioney Thomas is 'clever and commercial' and led advice for  Abellio East Anglia (t/a Greater Anglia) on the £40m funding of upgrades to the Norwich Crown Point depot, which included advising on an innovative long-term leasing structure. Transport head Chris Jackson and health and safety expert Ann Metherall are key figures, as are Philip Beer, who handles real estate deals in the sector, and Ian Tucker, who handles contentious instructions. Recently promoted partner Chris Simms is 'quick to see solutions and address issues'.

Practice head(s):Chris Jackson; Brioney Thomas; Simon Coppen; Ann Metherall; Philip Beer

Other key lawyers:Ian Tucker; Keith Beattie; Rachael Ruane; Brian Wong; Chris Simms; Michael Bray; Lydia Cullimore; Chris Lewis; Rupert Lugg; Lloyd Nail


'It is particularly strong on commercial contracts, rolling stock contracts and litigation'.

'It provides a very personal service'.

Key Clients

FirstGroup (train-operating company (TOC) owner group) and its TOCs (Great Western Railway, South Western Railway, First TransPennine Express and Hull Trains)

Abellio Transport Holdings (TOC owner group) and its TOCs (Merseyrail, Greater Anglia and ScotRail)

Welsh Government/Transport for Wales

Northern Ireland Railways Company (trading as Translink)

Eurostar International

Rail Delivery Group

Freightliner and the FOCs collectively (being Colas Rail; DB Schenker; Mendip Rail; Devon & Cornwall Railways; Direct Rail Services; Freightliner Group; and GB Railfreight)

Work highlights

  • Advised First Great Western (t/a Great Western Railway) on a dispute concerning the £146m refurbishment of the sleeper trains for services from Paddington to Penzance.
  • The rail property team advises Abellio Group, including Abellio East Anglia (t/a Greater Anglia) and Merseyrail on operational property matters.
  • The team is advising First Trenitalia on its bid for the West Coast Partnership.
  • The team advised Transport for Wales on its procurement of the next Wales and Border Rail Service and Metro on behalf of the Welsh Government.
  • Advised Northern Ireland Railways Company (NIR) (t/a Translink) on a £50m, publicly funded, transport project in Northern Ireland, which involved the successful purchase of 21 additional intermediate Class 4000 railway vehicles, to be integrated into seven of NIR’s existing three-car diesel multiple units.

Clifford Chance LLP's cross-practice rail offering is 'particularly strong, given the combination of in-depth, detailed knowledge of the sector and its commercial approach'. The team, which is able to effectively leverage its international network of experts to advise on complex, cross-border mandates, is renowned for its involvement in leading rail projects and it is instructed by an array of rail infrastructure bodies, manufacturers, investors, operators and suppliers. It advised a Government of Abu Dhabi entity, with global mining operations, on the procurement of a mineral ore freight rail service in Abu Dhabi. The rail practice operates in tandem with the firm's construction and infrastructure team to provide a full service to rail sector clients.  Global head of rail Paul Carrington specialises in financing, leasing and sales, and senior associate Dominic Watts has 'in-depth knowledge and understanding of the sector'.

Practice head(s):Paul Carrington

Other key lawyers:Michael Pearson; Ranbir Hunjan; Gavin Teague; Dominic Watts; Edward Norman; Alain Dodds


'The level of expertise specific to this sector, which is rare, and is extremely valuable in structuring of transactions'.

'The team is a pleasure to work with'.

'The team is extremely knowledgeable about the rail sector in general and on rolling stock finance in particular; this combination makes for a very compelling proposition'.

'Ranbir Hunjan provides positive leadership to the team and makes himself readily available to manage and direct negotiations'.

'Dominic Watts has a wealth of experience in the sector and is able to articulate in plain English the intricacies and implications of rail law'.

'Ranbir Hunjan is an excellent lawyer who commands respect in negotiations'.

'Edward Norman excels in running transactions, without the constant input of a partner, and challenges others views and opinions with his own'.

Key Clients

Transport for London

Network Rail

Rock Rail

CDPQ and Hermes Infrastructure (part owners of Eurostar)

European Investment Bank

The Royal Bank of Scotland




EQT Infrastructure

Work highlights

  • Advised Network Rail on the sale of its commercial real estate portfolio to Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners for £1.46bn.
  • Advised KEXIM and Ksure on the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail Project.
  • Advised Orix (and Mizuho) on their proposed acquisition of an equity interest in the Intercity Express PPP Project in the UK.
  • The team conducted a high-level review, for an international bank, of the tender version of the Build-Operate-Transfer Agreement for the Jerusalem Light Rail Transit Network Project, proposed to be entered into between the State of Israel and a yet to be designated project company, pursuant to which the project company will build, operate, maintain and transfer a light-rail transit project in Jerusalem.

With 'in-depth knowledge of the rail sector', Dentons is 'strong across franchising, rolling stock and regulatory work'. The UK team, which operates across its London, Glasgow and Edinburgh offices, has a broad practice covering passenger and freight work, infrastructure development and operational issues, light rail, franchising and concessions, access and regulation, rolling stock procurement and maintenance issues. Health and safety, environment, technology, finance work and disputes are also key focuses of the team. Matthew Hanslip Ward continues to lead advice for MTR on its joint venture bid for the West Coast Partnership with Guangshen Railway Corporation (part of China High Speed Rail) and Renfe, the Spanish high-speed operator. Esteemed practitioner Christopher McGee-Osborne has a 'wealth of experience in the rail sector', while counsel Martin Watt provides 'outstanding analysis and commercially oriented creative thinking' and senior associate Jonathan Smith has 'excellent industry knowledge'. David Moore joined CMS in 2018.

Practice head(s):Matthew Hanslip Ward

Other key lawyers:Christopher McGee-Osborne; Virginia Glastonbury; Mark Macaulay; Martin Watt; Sandra Hartley; Jonathan Smith; Rhiannon Elias; Abbie Pokorny


'Top-notch regulatory and franchising knowledge within the team'.

'Matthew Hanslip Ward has a peerless breadth of experience within the market, offering a very considered approach'.

'Clients receive an attentive service and relevant advice from Jonathan Smith and Matthew Hanslip Ward '.

'The team is fully aware of the rail industry practice and provides helpful advice on current trends in the sector'.


Key Clients

MTR Corporation

Deutsche Bahn

Virgin (including Virgin East Coast)


Network Rail


Transport for London


Rail Delivery Group

MTR Corporation (Crossrail)

GB Railfreight

DB Schenker



DB International Operations



Work highlights

  • Advised MTR on its participation in the joint venture with First Group and operation of the new South Western Railway franchise.
  • The team advised MTR on all aspects of its bid for the new Wales and Borders franchise, being let by the Welsh Government in association with Transport for Wales.
  • The team continued to advise Alstom on a proposed joint venture arrangement with Stagecoach Group in relation to Stagecoach's bid for the South Eastern franchise.
  • The team continues to advise Virgin and Stagecoach on the tenure of the East Coast Main Line passenger rail franchise, and the negotiations with government and eventual transfer to OLR.
  • It is advising MTR on the £1.4bn concession to operate Crossrail.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's cross-practice rail group is focused on concessions, rolling stock and infrastructure work, where it handles major transactions and complex projects. The team is increasingly utilising its global footprint to advise on a raft of cross-border rail sector mandates. Mark Brunton specialises in rail sector commercial contracts and Agnes Koko handles UK and international rail infrastructure projects. Birmingham-based Anne Harris advised the Department for Transport on the termination of the Inter City East Coast franchise, operated by franchisee Virgin Trains East Coast, and the transfer of responsibility for delivery of the passenger services to government-controlled operator of last resort, London North Eastern Railway. Elsewhere, the firm's parliamentary and infrastructure consenting team advises on the promotion and implementation of public transport projects.

Practice head(s):Mark Brunton; Anne Harris

Other key lawyers:Agnes Koko; Stephen Collings; James O’Connor; William Spickett; Andrew Bell


'The team has deep knowledge of the rail sector'.

Key Clients

Department for Transport (UK)

Transport for London

Network Rail

Light Rail Manilla Corporation

DB Engineering and Consulting and DB Engineering & Consulting USA (both part of the Deutsche Bahn group)

High Speed Two

Work highlights

  • Advised the Department for Transport on the direct award of a new short-term interim franchise following the expiry of the 2015 East Midlands rail franchise.
  • The team is advising the Department for Transport on the competed procurement of a new East Midlands passenger rail franchise.
  • It is advising the Department for Transport on the amendment of a number of franchise agreement amendments to enable DR15 compensation to be provided to passengers under the passengers charter.
  • It is advising the Department for Transport and High Speed Two on the implementation of Phase 1 since the Bill received Royal Assent.
  • The team continues to advise the Department for Transport and High Speed Two on a further Hybrid Bill to authorise the Phase 2b High Speed (Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds) Bill.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is experienced in large scale UK-based rail projects and the group is able to leverage its extensive international network to advise on significant international projects. With extensive franchising experience, the team handles a number of rail-franchising instructions and it is also engaged in significant rolling stock procurement mandates. Rail-related real estate developments are also a key focus of the practice and it is adept at high-profile disputes in the sector, where David Nitek plays a key role. Global infrastructure head Patrick Mitchell has extensive experience of project development and transactions; Mitchell and consultant Adrian Clough continue to advise High Speed Two on core elements of the £55bn HS2 project. Of counsel John Williams has broad experience in the rail sector where he advises on the development of railways, access and operational issues, rolling stock procurement, infrastructure, rolling stock maintenance, interface arrangements, concession and franchise issues; and Tim Briggs handles regulatory matters. The arrival of asset finance partner Rex Rosales, from Watson Farley & Williams LLP, has bolstered the firm's rail finance expertise.

Practice head(s):Patrick Mitchell

Other key lawyers:John Williams; Tim Briggs; David Nitek; Tom Marshall; Rex Rosales

Key Clients

Amber Infrastructure

Dalmore Infrastructure


GLIL Infrastructure

East Midlands Trains


High Speed Two

London North Eastern Railways

South West Trains


Transport for London and London Underground

Virgin Rail Group

Virgin Trains West Coast

Work highlights

  • The team advised Stagecoach on its bid for the South Eastern passenger rail franchise.
  • The team advised MIDIS (the Macquarie debt fund) and Aviva, as lenders, on the midco financing for the acquisition by Dalmore Capital, Rock Rail, JII and Equitix of an interest in Agility Trains West from Hitachi.
  • Advised London North Eastern Railway, the government-owned operator of the East Coast rail franchise, in relation to the introduction of the new Azuma trains.
  • The team advises Stagecoach on a broad range of passenger rail matters, including various issues associated with the demobilisation of the South Western rail franchise. It also advised East Midlands Trains (a wholly owned subsidiary of Stagecoach) on a second direct award in respect of the East Midlands franchise.
  • The team was appointed by Stagecoach and Virgin Trains to advise their respective franchise operators (East Midlands Trains, Virgin West Coast and Virgin Trains East Coast) in connection with the implementation of the smart ticketing on national rail project.

The broad rail offering at Linklaters LLP draws strengths from its leading corporate, finance, real estate and regulatory expertise to advise on a range of rail mandates, such as M&A, financing, construction, real estate, franchising, rolling stock and policy issues; it has the 'capacity to deploy teams from other areas to enhance the level of service delivered'. Its clients range from government bodies, rolling stock companies, regulators, sponsors and lenders, to financiers. The team is commended for its 'commercial focus, problem solving abilities; its very strong work ethic, and its highly professional and knowledgeable approach'. Its international expertise is evidenced by its lead role in advising the lenders on the $2.73bn project financing for the $4bn construction, refurbishment and operation of a 912km railway line through Mozambique and Malawi. Fiona Hobbs has a 'wealth of experience in the rail sector' and Charlotte Morgan is noted for her infrastructure expertise, while Stuart Rowson handles finance mandates in the sector.

Practice head(s):Fiona Hobbs; Charlotte Morgan

Other key lawyers:Stuart Rowson


'The team has unrivalled experience of the rail sector and of acting for the various parties active in the industry'.

'The team is strong on large, complex and multi-party transactions, where it is able to act with a view to the commercial and legal implications of transactions'.

'Fiona Hobbs' capacity to manage and deliver highly complex projects involving multiple parties in multiple jurisdictions with differing legal codes and complex interactions is remarkable, as is her deep knowledge of the rail sector'.

'The team can get transactions completed efficiently and without fuss; it is very focused on getting the work done'.

Key Clients

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board

Borealis Infrastructure

African Development Bank

Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa

Japan Bank for International Cooperation

Nippon Export and Investment Insurance

Assured Guaranty

Department for Transport

CK Asset Holdings

Italian-Thai Development

Work highlights

  • Advised Assured Guaranty as controlling creditor in connection with a substantial corporate reorganisation of Groupe Eurotunnel SE (Getlink).
  • The team is advising the Department for Transport on £2bn of additional funding to the Crossrail project (via loans to the Greater London Authority and TfL) and associated amendments to the existing sponsor arrangements.
  • The team is advising the DfT on the procurement of rolling stock to replace rolling stock on the East Coast Main Line and Great Western Main Line, respectively.
  • Advised CK Asset Holdings (as potential purchaser) on its bid for Network Rail’s commercial estate, comprising approximately 5,500 properties in England and Wales.
  • The team is advising Italian-Thai Development, as sponsor, on the development and project financing of a major rail and port project in Mozambique.

Norton Rose Fulbright houses a 'market-leading team with core strengths in the rail sector' and it is commended for its 'broad industry expertise'. The London practice, which is supported by an international network of experts, handles an extensive range of work, including franchising and concessions, rolling stock, projects, infrastructure and finance mandates; and it also offers expertise across environmental, health and safety, intellectual property, technology, dispute resolution, competition, regulation, tax and real estate matters. Clients include financiers, manufacturers, government entities and infrastructure developers. Tom Johnson, who is 'first-rate', led advice for Stadler Rail on its bid to supply rolling stock for the West Coast Partnership franchise. Of counsel Louise Auty is an asset finance lawyer with in-depth rail sector expertise and recently promoted partner Susanna Rogers handles competition and regulatory matters. Esteemed practitioner Simon Gwynne joined the practice in 2019 from Hogan Lovells International LLP.

Practice head(s):Tom Johnson

Other key lawyers:Andrew Buisson; Simon Lew; Donald Warnock; Susanna Rogers; Louise Auty; Andrew Williams


'The team impresses with the quality of service provided'.

'Tom Johnson and Louise Auty are highly experienced and commercial lawyers, with deep knowledge and expertise of key issues faced in complex asset financing transactions'.

Key Clients

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

The City of Ottawa

Crown Commercial Services/The Department for Transport

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (panel)

DVB Bank SE and DZ Bank

Eversholt Rail

The Go-Ahead Group

John Laing Infrastructure Fund

Joint venture between Ferrovial Agroman (UK) and Fluor

Lloyds Banking Group

Metrolinx (Greater Toronto Transportation Authority)

Stadler Rail

Thales Ground Transportation Systems UK

Work highlights

  • The team is advising DVB Bank SE and DZ Bank AG on the sale and transfer of DVB’s Land Transportation business to Helaba.
  • Advised Eversholt Rail on the leasing and storage arrangements of its class 365 units.
  • Advised The Go-Ahead Group on a £300m revolving credit facility.
  • Advised Eversholt Rail on the marketing and potential sale of rolling stock.
  • The team is acting for the City of Ottawa on Stage 2 of the Light Rail Transit Project.

Stephenson Harwood has 'strong and in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the rail industry'; the team 'understands key issues quickly and delivers in a user-friendly fashion'. It is engaged on prominent rail projects and it has extensive experience across franchising, rolling stock and infrastructure work. Clients include major franchise owners, operators, rolling stock manufacturers, financiers and government entities. It is also able to utilise the firm's experience across competition, employment, infrastructure, real estate, corporate, tax and dispute resolution to provide a full service to rail clients. Leading practitioner Tammy Samuel is well-versed in rolling stock mandates and led advice for Spanish rolling stock manufacturer, CAF, on numerous bids across the UK. Suzanne Tarplee, who 'understands issues from a commercial point of view and comes up with workable solutions', plays a pivotal role in franchising, rolling stock and rail regulation instructions. Recently promoted partner Darren Fodey is 'excellent on the detail' and associate Richard Hughes is engaged on a number of high-profile transactions in the sector.

Practice head(s):Graeme McLellan; Tammy Samuel

Other key lawyers:Suzanne Tarplee; Lisa Marks; Ron Nobbs; Paul Thwaite; Graeme Barton; Darren Fodey; Richard Hughes


'Insightful and reliable advice is always presented'.

'Suzanne Tarplee and Darren Fodey are professional and knowledgeable individuals who are good fun to work with'.

'The team has excellent specialist knowledge in rail'.

'The team provides excellent client service and focused advise'.

'Tammy Samuel has key strengths in providing commercially astute advice and in finding solutions to reach agreement with other parties; she always fights the client's corner'.

'Ron Nobbs is quick to understand the issues and provides strong, focused, advice'.

'Paul Thwaite provides clear advice on the strategy of cases'.

'It is an excellent commercial team with fantastic knowledge of the sector'.

'The team brings a common-sense approach; it is always enthusiastic and knowledgeable, with the ability to bring different sector thinking to the table'.

'Tammy Samuel brings an unbelievable amount of energy, as well as a wealth of knowledge and understanding; she is always positive in her approach to any challenge'.

'Suzanne Tarplee has great knowledge and an easy approach with clients'.

Key Clients

Abellio East Anglia

Rock Infrastructure

Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles

Grand Central


Arriva Rail North

Transport for London/Rail for London

London Underground


Arriva UK Trains

The Chiltern Railway Company

Arriva Trains Wales

DB Regio Tyne and Wear

Trenitalia c2c

Kiepe Electric UK

Department for Transport


CAF UK Rolling Stock

Trenitalia UK

Corelink Rail Infrastructure

East West Rail

Eversholt Rail

Work highlights

  • It is advising spanish rolling stock manufacturer, CAF, on the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Newport, Wales.
  • It is advising leading franchise operator and bidder, Arriva, on its bid to operate the East Midlands Rail franchise.
  • It is advising Transport for London on a new regulatory regime for Crossrail and the Crossrail concession arrangements.
  • It is advising Transport for London on securing access to Heathrow Airport for the new Crossrail service.
  • The team is advising Transport for London and London Underground on the upgrading of rail infrastructure and facilities management on the Underground and across TfL.

Addleshaw Goddard's rail team 'possesses a good balance of relevant rail specific knowledge and experience, coupled with a strong ability to provide guidance in various customer specific areas'. With specialists across the UK, the team is regularly engaged on complex franchising, rolling stock, projects and infrastructure mandates for public and private sector clients. Department head Paul Hirst, who is experienced across transport infrastructure projects, operating concessions and franchises, rolling stock procurements and regularly leads on big-ticket mandates; Hirst led advice for the DfT, on a multi-year mandate, regarding a new rail franchise, which will combine the current InterCity West Coast services with the development and introduction of High Speed 2 services. Clive Smith has a strong market following and is noted for his rolling stock expertise. The team was recently bolstered by the arrival of experienced consultant Martin Fleetwood, who 'shows impressive pragmatism and an ability to help shape solutions to complex issues', from Shoosmiths LLP.

Practice head(s):Paul Hirst

Other key lawyers:Clive Smith; Jacqui Langley-White; Anna Heaton; Sara Gilmore; Ursula Gould; Martin Fleetwood; William Smith


The team provides a broad service with particular strength in considering procurement issues.

Paul Hirst demonstrates an impressive level of understanding of, and engagement with, the rail industry.

Martin Fleetwood has good general knowledge and understanding of the industry.

Key Clients

Ove Arup & Partners

London Luton Airport

Department for Transport (DfT)

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA)

Amey Rail

SMBC Leasing

UK Tram


Hitachi Rail Europe

Eversholt Rail


Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A. (i.e. CAF)


Work highlights

  • The team is advising Hitachi Rail Europe on its bid to Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Executive (Nexus), for the Metrofutures fleet replacement programme.
  • The team is advising West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) on the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill, 11 km expansion, of the Midland Metro tram system in the West Midlands to serve Brierley Hill via Dudley.
  • The team continues to advise London Luton Airport Limited, the owners of Luton Airport, on the £200m development of a mass passenger transit system (the Luton DART) between Luton Airport Parkway railway station and the airport terminal, which is to replace the shuttle-bus transfer currently in operation.
  • The team is advising UK Tram on the establishment of a dedicated safety body for the UK light rail industry, in line with the recommendation of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) following the derailment at Sandilands on the Croydon tram network.
  • The team is advising VTG Rail UK on the hire and maintenance of 42 steel wagons to British Airways, including the associated fuel and depot access arrangements at the depot facilities, owned by BP, at its Isle of Grain oil terminal.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP's cross-practice rail group is regularly engaged on complex rolling stock transactions and is particularly noted for its rolling stock financing and leasing expertise. Planning, authorisation, projects and infrastructure work is also a key focus of the team, which is regularly engaged on high-profile rail sector projects. The team is also able to offer antitrust and competition expertise and advises on regulatory issues. It provides ongoing support to Beacon Rail on asset and portfolio management, as well as leasing issues. Practice head Russell Clifford is a structured asset finance and leasing specialist and is experienced in a raft of domestic and cross-border transactions. Jason Chamberlain's 'knowledge and understanding of the rail market and industry is second-to-none'.

Practice head(s):Russell Clifford

Other key lawyers:Jamie Wiseman-Clarke; Jason Chamberlain; James Marshall; Euan McIntosh


Jason Chamberlain brings a wealth of experience to any transaction and is able to convert that into pragmatic legal and commercial advice and solutions.


Key Clients

Angel Trains

Beacon Rail Leasing

Transport for London

Greater London Authority and Barking Riverside


Work highlights

  • The team advised Angel Trains on the re-leasing, and the extension of the leasing, of fleets of trains owned by it, and operated under various franchises, including the Wales & Border franchise, the East Coast franchise, the East Midlands Trains franchise and the South Eastern Franchise.
  • The team continues to advise Greater London Authority and Barking Riverside on a range of matters and advised on the acquisition of a 51 per cent shareholding in BRL by London & Quadrant (L&Q) from Bellway Homes and on the development and funding agreements for delivery of the London Overground extension.
  • Acted for Beacon Rail on its acquisition from Colas Rail, and lease back to Colas Rail, of 67 diesel locomotives that operate in either the UK or France.
  • Acted for Beacon Rail on the acquisition from Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, and the lease  to Captrain España of nine Bitrac locomotives.
  • The team advises Beacon Rail on all competition law aspects, including determining the applicability of EU and/or national merger control regimes, deal structuring, and general antitrust compliance issues, in the context of competitive auction bids and due diligence processes of multiple proposed acquisitions of competitor rolling stock leasing businesses and portfolios.

Able to utilise its global network and its experts across the UK to advise on complex, cross-border deals, CMS has 'great industry knowledge' and has 'broad experience of rail sector work'. It is engaged on large infrastructure projects, rolling stock and procurement funding, rail franchising, regulation and competition mandates. The team advised the senior debt funder consortium to the Rock Rail consortium on its bid to purchase the new Crossrail/Elizabeth Line rolling stock from TfL/Rail for London, and to lease it back to Rail for London. The team is well-placed to advise on disputes in the sector, leveraging its specialist construction disputes team in the UK and internationally. The team also has experience in light rail projects; it continues to advise Tramlink Nottingham on all issues arising from the construction and operation of the Nottingham Tram, NET Phase 2 project. Advising on land acquisition, planning and consenting mandates is also a key strength. Clients include public sector rail providers, developers, investors, PPP companies, and other rail sector entities. Rail sector specialist David Moore, who is experienced in projects, franchising and rolling stock procurements, joined from Dentons in 2018. Practice head Bill Carr handles complex rolling stock procurement and maintenance arrangements.

Practice head(s):Bill Carr

Other key lawyers:David Moore; Jonathan Beckett; Jonathan Dames; Rob Gray; Andrew Ivison; Eleanor Lane; Chris Hallam; Chris Bowes; Stephen McNaught; Katie Duffield; Toby Commander; Matt Stephen;


The firm has a very strong understanding of how the railway industry works.

Key Clients

Tramlink Nottingham

Eurostar International

AMP Capital

Aviva Investors

John Laing Infrastructure Fund

Funding consortium to Rock Rail

Ricardo Rail

Rail Delivery Group

Work highlights

  • The team has for a number of clients on the HS2 scheme, which has included advising SSE, SGN and National Grid Gas on various diversion, protection and assurance works in respect of operational electricity and gas assets to regulate the ongoing relationship between HS2 and these utilities; National Grid Property in relation to the interpretation of HS2’s powers under the HS2 legislation and the undertaking of site investigation works; SSE in relation to a design and construction contract and permitted development rights for the delivery of works under the HS2 legislation.
  • The team is advising a bidder on the pre-qualification stages of the West Midlands Metro tram procurement.

Osborne Clarke LLP's 'exceptional' team has 'thorough and widespread knowledge of the rail sector'. The team handles a broad spread of rail sector work, acting for a range of blue-chip clients, and offers expertise in rolling stock, franchising, infrastructure, projects, planning and authorisation matters. The team also handles pensions work in the sector and is able to handle high-profile procurement disputes; it is representing Siemens Mobility in a procurement challenge, brought by competitors, over the award of a contract for £1.5bn of new trains for the Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Central lines. Department head Lara Burch has 'in-depth experience' and associate director Jeremy Godley handles franchise bids, rolling stock procurement and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):Lara Burch

Other key lawyers:Jeremy Godley; Edward Barratt; Keir Pimblett


Lara Burch has an almost unique way of working with clients which secures the best service and great results.

Key Clients

Transport for London

Arriva (and its affiliated train operating companies)

Eversholt Rail Group

Rail Delivery Group

Eurostar International

Department for Transport

Office of Rail and Road


Hack Partners

Riccardo Rail

Knorr Bremse Rail

Cross London Trains

Work highlights

  • Acted for Eversholt Rail Group on its collaboration with Alstom for the development of a new hydrogen powered train.
  • The team is advising Gazeley on the development of a proposed £700m new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange in Northamptonshire.
  • The team is avising the Rail Delivery Group on the design and implementation of fares and ticketing simplifications.
  • The team is Eurostar’s sole advisor for all IP matters and the team also advises on a broad spread of day-to-day legal issues.
  • The team advises Eversholt Rail Group on new rolling stock projects, and also advises on a range of other issues.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP focuses on the planning, promotion and statutory authorisation of major rail projects. It advises on a range of issues such as compulsory purchase, compensation, property issues, consultation, environmental impact assessments, planning and statutory procedures. The team advised the DfT and HS2 Ltd on the promotion of the Bill to construct and operate the proposed high-speed railway between London and Birmingham; Phase One of HS2, and is now instructed on further Bills to construct and operate Phases 2A and 2B of the project. Department head Paul Irving is 'very experienced' in advising on, and drafting legislation relating to railways.

Practice head(s):Paul Irving

Other key lawyers:Hazel Anderson; Alex Dillstone; Simon Livesey; Jane Wakeham

Key Clients

Secretary of State for Transport

Crossrail Ltd

Department for Transport

Work highlights

  • The team advised Crossrail Ltd and the DfT on the initial Bill and is now advising on issues relating to the implementation of the scheme.
  • Advised Network Rail in connection with an Order under the Transport and Works Act to provide a new dive under beneath the East Coast Main Line near Peterborough.
  • The team is advising Network Rail on an Order under the Transport and Works Act in connection with the Network Rail scheme to electrify and carry out other enhancement to  the Midland Main line between London and Corby.
  • The team is preparing the application for the Transport and Works Act Order, for Network Rail, to authorise the East West railway project.

Based across its London and Newcastle offices, the 'highly experienced rail team' at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP stands out for its 'commercial acumen, and its clarity of thought; it is always looking for solutions'. The broad offering handles franchising and rolling stock mandates and it is active on rail projects and infrastructure work. It is also able to advise on rail planning and authorisations. Recent highlights include advising Govia on its bid for the South Eastern franchise. Department head David Rewcastle is 'one of the most experienced lawyers in the rail sector' and Paul Coleman, who specialises in rolling stock and infrastructure work, is a 'brilliant lawyer'. Associate Joseph Causer handles franchise, rolling stock and infrastructure mandates.

Practice head(s):David Rewcastle

Other key lawyers:Paul Coleman; Rachel Scott; Richard Guyatt; Kevin Bell; Joseph Causer


David Rewcastle and Paul Coleman are excellent in terms of their knowledge and ability to understand all of the complexities concerning franchise and the contractual documents.

The industry knowledge is spread amongst a number of high-quality partners and associates.

Collectively, the team has a vast knowledge of the railway industry and is equally at home dealing with the minutiae of franchise negotiations or dealing with asset acquisition and procurement with rolling stock manufacturers.

The partners and associates are always available, so the client feels supported.

David Rewcastle is a vast repository of knowledge and wisdom when it comes to the railway industry and is well-regarded as such.

David Rewcastle is at home in any situation he may find himself in and can dish out commercial advice as well as legal counsel with equal expertise.

Paul Coleman is a formidable individual, who can pierce even the thorniest of convoluted legal drafting.

Kevin Bell is a lawyer you definitely want on your side whilst dealing with supply contracts and franchise agreements; he is able to translate complex concepts into advantageous positions in drafting agreements.

A standout associate is Joseph Causer, who is able to translate requirements in to documents with the minimum of fuss and has a practical approach.

Key Clients

Go-Ahead Group plc/Govia

Network Rail


Govia Thameslink Railway







Work highlights

  • The team is advising Transdev in relation to its bid to operate and maintain the Luas light rail system in Dublin.
  • The team was instructed by SNCF on its joint venture arrangements and bid with Stagecoach and Virgin in relation to the West Coast Partnership franchise.
  • The team is advising Govia on the new rolling stock aspects of its bid for the South Eastern franchise.
  • The team is advising Stadler on its bid for the manufacture and maintenance of rolling stock for the Nexus Tyne and Wear Metro system.
  • The team advised Network Rail Infrastructure on various matters relating to the Crossrail project, which included advising on the track access contract between Network Rail and MTR; agreements between Network Rail and RfL to connect the central tunnel to Network Rail's network; and advising on agreements with Heathrow Airport to enable services to run.

BDB Pitmans focuses on planning and authorisation work in the rail sector; it advises on the planning aspects of large-scale infrastructure projects in heavy and light rail; and it has 'deep experience in the field'. The firm's Parliamentary Agents advise on the promotion and opposition of railway bills and it has a dedicated public affairs practice. The team continues to act for a wide range of parties affected by HS2 Phases One and Two, including statutory bodies and undertakers, local authorities, utility companies, private organisations, individual landowners and rural businesses.

Practice head(s):Mark Challis

Other key lawyers:Sarah Clark; Nicholas Evans; Christina Daniels


Mark Challis is very experienced in railway work and has excellent judgement.


Key Clients

HS2 objections, including the CLA, BMW, Aston Villa, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Airport and NEC.

Transport for Wales

Transport for London

Transport for Greater Manchester

Leeds City Council

Blackpool Borough Council

Work highlights

  • The team advises TfL on all aspects of the authorisation of the Crossrail 2 scheme, which includes advising on environmental assessment and public consultation, and advising on the delivery of 200,000 more homes along its route.
  • The team is advising TfL on the necessary consents to build and operate a scheme involving an extension of the existing Gospel Oak to Barking London Overground line to a new station to be built in the heart of Barking Riverside, a substantial new mixed-use development.
  • The team is advising TfL on the Bakerloo extension and the Holborn station upgrade schemes.
  • The team is advising TfW on the process of taking over the ownership and operation of the Core Valley Lines, so that these can be converted to light rail operation.
  • The team advised Transport for Greater Manchester on the promotion of every part of Manchester’s Metrolink, the UK’s largest light rail network and, more recently, on the Trafford Park Extension.

DLA Piper is able to leverage its international footprint to advise on complex rail sector instructions. It is experienced in franchising work and rolling stock procurement, and it also offers expertise in major infrastructure projects. Light rail mandates are also a key focus.

Fieldfisher's multidisciplinary team has 'quantified knowledge and sector experience'. It handles franchising, rolling stock procurement and leasing work; and the team also offers expertise across outsourcing, technology, telecoms, regulatory, competition, state aid, employment, pensions, construction and commercial work in the sector. The team is advising the DfT on the Greater Western Change Project, the biggest in franchise change programme across the Greater Western network, to focus on the interventions required to mitigate the impact of the electrification programme delays highlighted in the Hendy Review.

Practice head(s):John Worthy

Other key lawyers:John Cassels; Nicholas Thompsell; Ranjit Dhindsa; David Gallagher; Sam Jardine; Cecily Davis; Sarah Keir; Liam Corrigan


The firm has a very dedicated team, which works really hard and has a keen interest the client's business.

Sam Jardine is a great ambassador for the firm.

Sarah Kier has some great sector knowledge and always goes beyond what is required to help.


Key Clients

Department for Transport

Go Ahead/Southern Rail/Thameslink

Global Travel Ventures


Abellio Group (Greater Anglia, Scotrail)

London North East Railway

ITSO Limited

Systra (SNCF/RATP)

Work highlights

  • The team advises Trainline on regulatory frameworks.
  • The team is advising London North East Railway on the procurement of a revenue management software solution.
  • The team is advising Global Travel Ventures on regulatory issues relating to the launch of an innovative rail ticketing app.

Gowling WLG is engaged on a range of mandates in the rail sector; it advises on station development and upgrades, overstation and over track developments, infrastructure projects and handles interface agreements for developers. The team supports on rolling stock and commercial contracts and acts for freight operators and users. It also offers expertise in employment and pensions work in the sector. The team continues to advise the London Borough of Barnet on the development of a new rail freight facility and new station, as part of the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration scheme.

Practice head(s):Giles Clifford

Other key lawyers:Richard Green; Dominic Richardson; Michael Hallowell; Michael Whitehouse; Alexander Wrixon

Key Clients

Transport for London

London Underground Ltd

Crossrail Ltd

London Borough of Barnet

GB Railfreight

Ricardo Rail PLC

Direct Rail Services

Railroad Development Corporation

Devon and Cornwall Railways

CRRC Corporation

Bombardier Transportation UK

Blackstone Property Partners /  Telereal Trillium

Work highlights

  • The team is advising TfL on a development agreement and lease with Aviva, and advised on all ancillary aspects of the transaction, to aid the proposed 1-14 Liverpool Street over site development.
  • The team is advising TfL and London Underground Ltd on the procurement of a property development partner for the development of South Kensington station, and station enhancement works.
  • The team is advising TfL and London Underground Limited on the project and property documentation for the development of step-free access at Finsbury Park Underground Station.
  • The team is advisng The Arden Cross Consortium on all aspects of the development of Arden Cross.
  • The team advised China Rail and Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) on a contract to supply rolling stock wagons for a Bauxite Mine/Aluminium plant in Guinea.

Hogan Lovells International LLP's 'effective' offering has 'good knowledge of the rail sector'. The team has experience in UK and international rail and infrastructure projects, where it is able to utilise its global footprint. The team is advising Rail Baltica on the high-value high speed Rail Baltica project, which is designed to integrate the North Sea corridor into the European rail network. Rolling stock and franchising issues are also a key focus of the multidisciplinary team, as are advising on the planning aspects of rail projects and station redevelopment mandates. Counsel Charles Ford is 'very approachable, is good at problem solving and discussing complex issues prior to providing the formal written advice'. Former department head Simon Gwynne has joined Norton Rose Fulbright.

Other key lawyers:Charles Ford; Andrew Gallagher; Rupert Sydenham


The team is knowledgeable, approachable, pragmatic, commercial and efficient.

Charles Ford is very knowledgeable about the sector; he makes sure that he understands the client brief fully and provides pragmatic advice in a timely manner.

Charles Ford has in-depth client knowledge and is responsive.

Key Clients




Cross London Trains (consortium consisting of Innisfree, 3i, and Siemens) Department for Transport


European Investment Bank (EIB)

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

QW Rail

Hellenic Republic

Work highlights

  • The team advised SMBC and Equitix on the £1bn financing, acquisition and leasing of a fleet of Bombardier class 345 units, for use on the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail).

K&L Gates LLP has a 'deep understanding of the rail industry'; it has 'excellent technical expertise' and delivers 'high-quality work to tight deadlines'. The team utilises its construction and infrastructure expertise to handle major rail projects and, aided by its global footprint, it is able to advise on cross-border mandates. It is advising MRT Corp on the construction of a second line for the Klang Valley MRT (KVMRT) project, known as the SSP Line or Line 2, in Malaysia. The team offers particular expertise in light rail and mass transit systems and also handles disputes in the sector.

Practice head(s):Matthew Smith

Other key lawyers:Matthew Walker; Nicola Ellis; Inga Hall; Sarah Drinkwater; Daniel Lopez de Arroyabe


Nicola Ellis is an excellent team leader.

'The team is led by very experienced partners who are detail-orientated, great strategists and very pleasant to work with.'

Matthew Smith has a detailed knowledge of the rail sector, the contracts used within it and the issues that arise.

Key Clients

Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (“MRT Corp”)

Hitachi Rail Europe

Tube Lines

Transport for London (including London Underground Limited, LUL Nominee SSL Ltd and LUL Nominee BCV Ltd)

Rail for London

Qatar Rail

Work highlights

  • The team advises Hitachi on the drafting, negotiation and agreement of multiple depot works contracts across the UK.
  • The team advises TfL on a wide range of non-contentious matters; including drafting and advising on its template suite of construction contracts.
  • Advising MRT Corp on the construction of a second line for the Klang Valley MRT (“KVMRT”) project, known as the SSP Line or Line 2, in Malaysia.

Simmons & Simmons is engaged on complex infrastructure projects and rail PPPs, as well as operation and maintenance matters, M&A, property and track access arrangements and regulatory issues. The team is advising Cubic Transportation, a major supplier of automatic ticket gates, on The Office of Rail and Road's market study into automatic ticket gate and ticket machine supply in the UK. Able to leverage its extensive global network of offices, the London team is regularly instructed on cross-border projects in the sector.

Practice head(s):Juliet Reingold

Other key lawyers:Richard Dyton

Key Clients

Cubic Transportation

KEOLIS & RATP Dev Joint Venture

Dragados and Mace

Grimshaw Architects

Work highlights

  • The team continued to assist Keolis and RATP Dev on the operation and maintenance contract regarding the Doha Metro and Lusail Tramway. It also advises on various corporate issues and advises local subsidiary, RKH Qitarat, on a number of operational issues.
  • The team is advising Grimshaw, a leading architecture practice, which has been selected alongside WSP UK, to create the new Curzon Street Station for HS2 services in the centre of Birmingham.
  • Acting for and representing Cubic Transportation Limited, the only major supplier of automatic ticket gates in the UK to TfL and TOCs, in the ORR’s market study into automatic ticket gate and ticket machine supply in the UK.
  • We have been providing strategic and commercially focussed advice to Momentum Infrastructure, a JV of three leading contractors bidding for enabling and civils works on the High Speed 2 rail project.

Able to leverage its international network of offices, White & Case LLP is experienced in international rail and infrastructure projects. The team's broad-base means it is also adept at handling rail sector disputes and financing matters.

Boutique offering Hollingworth Bissell has 'specialist expertise' and is focused on rail sector work; it acts for a range of rail sector entities on an array of matters including station developments, franchising and regulatory issues.

Kennedys stands out for its rail regulatory and health and safety expertise, where it advises on criminal investigations, prosecutions and related inquest hearings. Regulatory defence work is a key focus of the department. Employment work for rail sector clients is also a key strength, where the team is instructed by several major train operators; it successfully acted for Great Western Railway in tribunal proceedings brought by a train driver for race discrimination, constructive unfair dismissal and automatic unfair dismissal on grounds of whistleblowing and unlawful deduction from wages.

Practice head(s):Richard Crockford

Other key lawyers:Matthew Leake; Fiona Morgan; Susan Cha

Key Clients

South Western Railway

Great Western Railway

Virgin Trains East Coast

Virgin Trains West Coast

East Midlands Trains


Renown Railway Services

London North Eastern Railway


Work highlights

  • Represented South Western Railway in the successful defence of an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal by a claimant whose claims for race discrimination, unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal had been dismissed following a part-time strike out application made to the first instance tribunal made at the close of the client’s case.
  • Acted for Virgin Trains East Coast on the TUPE-transfer and associated issues relating to the termination of the previous east coast franchise and the commencement of a new franchise to be operated by London North Eastern Railway.  
  • The team advises London North Eastern Railway (LNER) on employment and industrial relations matters.
  • The team advised Great Western Railway on complex outsourcing arrangements regarding its on-board catering facilities, including considering of TUPE issues and various employee-related commercial terms.
  • The team continues to act for the Freightliner Group on the defence of a group enhanced redundancy payment claim pursued by multiple claimants.

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