The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Burges Salmon LLP

Living Wage
Work 0117 939 2000
Fax 0117 902 4400
Bristol, London

Brioney Thomas

Work 0117 902 6677
Burges Salmon LLP

Work Department



Brioney is a partner within Burges Salmon's transport sector group and Head of Rail. She has extensive experience advising on franchise, UK and EU regulatory issues and major rolling stock projects. Her specialist rail expertise includes advising government departments, transport UK and international owner groups and their operating companies as well as major international stock manufacturers.


Trained Burges Salmon; qualified 2000; partner 2011.


Clifton College; University of Exeter (1997 LLB Hons).


Tennis, running, music.

London: Corporate and commercial

Commercial contracts

Within: Commercial contracts

Burges Salmon LLP's prominence in the commercial contracts arena is illustrated by the fact that, in 2017, it was reappointed  to the UK government's Crown Commercial Services panel (as a tier one legal services provider), which was reduced in size from 47 firms to 18 firms. In addition, the firm is one of only four to act for Waitrose and John Lewis Partnership. Practice head Helen Scott-Lawler, senior associate Timothy Deacon and associate Charles Hopper recently assisted Yeo Valley Dairies with its acquisition by Arla Foods, which included advice on manufacturing arrangements and milk supply. Another notable client is Virgin Sport, for whom Scott-Lawler and Deacon advise on licensing, sponsorship agreements, marketing and advertising, among other matters. Brioney Thomas, who heads up the firm's rail sector practice, is acting as the lead adviser to Abellio on various infrastructure works to support the East Anglia and West Midlands franchises.

[back to top]

London: Finance

Asset finance and leasing

Within: Asset finance and leasing

One of the market leaders for rail financing work, Bristol-based Burges Salmon LLP advises borrowers and lessors on many of the most significant mandates in the domestic market. Team head Brioney Thomas has a very strong reputation among train operating companies, including West Midlands Trains, which she recently advised on the procurement of a new £680m fleet of CAF and Bombardier trains for the West Midlands franchise. As part of her broader banking practice, Rachael Ruane also regularly handles asset finance transactions, while Simon Coppen handles financing and corporate matters as part of his overarching rail practice. Other clients include Abbellio Transport Holdings, First MTR South Western Trains and First TransPennine Express.

[back to top]

London: Projects, energy and natural resources

Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP)

Within: Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP)

Burges Salmon LLP has a strong record advising public and private sector clients in energy, transport, defence and social infrastructure projects under the leadership of Ian Salter . Mark Paterson continues to act for the MoD in the procurement of the Dreadnought and Astute class submarines as part of a significant defence programme, and Brioney Thomas assists the government of Wales on the delivery of the next Wales, Border Rail and Metro services. On the energy side, Ross Fairley  and Steven James  are currently intervening in high-profile, politically sensitive UK generation projets. The Department for Education appointed a group led by Matthew Ramus to handle the implementation of two new children's services trusts in Doncaster and Slough. Also notable is Lloyd James who continues to guide Costain through various highway projects including the M4 relief road in South Wales. Key contacts also include Keith Beattie and construction specialist Marcus Harling .

[back to top]

London: Transport


Within: Leading individuals

Brioney Thomas - Burges Salmon LLP

Within: Rail

Burges Salmon LLP‚Äôs ‚Äėoutstanding‚Äô rail department is active across regulatory, franchising and procurement work, in addition to major infrastructure and rolling stock projects. The¬†‚Äėpragmatic and knowledgeable‚Äô ¬†Brioney Thomas¬†heads the rail practice and advised Abellio on its successful bid for the West Midlands rail franchise as part of West Midlands Trains, a JV that includes JRE and Mitsui. Thomas also advised West Midlands Trains on its successful bid for the West Midlands franchise.¬†Thomas acted alongside rail infrastructure head Philip Beer¬†for Transport for Wales and the Welsh government on the award of new rail franchise for Wales and the Borders. Head of rail franchising Simon Coppen¬†advised FirstGroup on First MTR South Western Trains‚Äô successful bid for the South Western franchise; he also advised on the procurement of a fleet of new trains to support First MTR South Western Trains‚Äô successful bid for the South West passenger rail franchise, and is advising First Rail Holdings on its West Coast franchise bid submission. Other key figures include rail health and safety head Ann Metherall,¬†Keith Beattie,¬†Ian Tucker,¬†Rachael Ruane¬† and transport head Chris Jackson. Legal director Chris Simms¬†joined in 2017 from Abellio UK. Legal director Edward Barratt¬†was recently promoted.

[back to top]

South West: Projects, energy and natural resources

Project finance and PFI

Within: Project finance and PFI

Burges Salmon LLP is well known throughout the region and nationally for its strength in major energy and infrastructure projects, with the team involved in many of the largest and most sensitive projects across the UK. Brioney Thomas is advising Abellio on all aspects, including funding, of rail and depot works for the East Anglia and West Midlands rail franchises. Thomas is also instructed by Transport for Wales. Also in the transport space, Lloyd James is acting for Costain Group in connection with the development of the M4 relief road in South Wales. Headed by Ian Salter, the team has unique expertise in nuclear energy projects. Gary Soloman is assisting Isle of Anglesey County Council with all aspects of its role in the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa. Mark Paterson is advising the Ministry of Defence in relation to the highly publicised Trident project. Additional contacts include William Gard, Keith Beattie, and Nathan Curtis.

[back to top]

South West: Transport


Within: Leading individuals

Brioney Thomas - Burges Salmon LLP

Within: Rail

Burges Salmon LLP¬†advises on all aspects of rail transport including regulatory, commercial, safety and strategy issues. Clients include train operating companies and rolling stock manufacturers such as Eurostar International, Northern Ireland Railways Company, Transport for London, Association of Train Operating Companies and Travelers Insurance Company. Head of Rail Brioney Thomas¬†led on advising Abellio on its bid for the west midlands rail franchise, this was a joint venture that included JRE and Mitsui and was worth ¬£1b. Simon Coppen¬†led on advising FirstGroup on a joint venture with MTR Holdings to acquire the South Western franchise, this deal will involve ¬£1.2b of investment over seven years. Another highlight includes acting for Transport for Wales in relation to its procurement of the next Wales and Border Rail Service and Metro on behalf of the Welsh Government, this deal is worth between ¬£3b and ¬£5b. Philip Beer¬†is head of rail infrastructure, Ian Tucker¬†was promoted to partner, Edward Barratt¬†was promoted to legal director, he has ‚Äėcommitment, transparency and wide and deep subject knowledge‚Äô. Chris Jackson¬†heads the transport sector and specialises in industry policy and strategy developments. Ann Metherall¬†specialises in health and safety matters. Chris Simms¬†joined as legal director from Abellio. The team provides ‚Äėa very high quality of service, promptly turning work round to support the pace of active negotiations with broad knowledge and tailored advice‚Äô.

[back to top]

Back to index

Legal Developments by:
Burges Salmon LLP

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of ‚ā¨50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over ‚ā¨1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over ‚ā¨500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (‚ā¨150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly ‚ā¨2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than ‚ā¨6.5m. ‚Ä©
    - Burges Salmon LLP

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to