Firms To Watch: Rail

Spearheaded by Aled Walters the team at Hugh James is praised for taking a ‘collaborative approach’ and for ‘working proactively to find a solution that works for all parties whilst ensuring that its client is protected’.
Michelle Craven-Faulkner leads the ‘very knowledgeable’ team at Shoosmiths LLP that is praised for its ‘specialist knowledge of the railway industry’ and it ‘really understands the industry’ say clients.

Rail in London

Addleshaw Goddard

Led by Paul Hirst and Anna Heaton the team at Addleshaw Goddard has an ‘excellent knowledge of the rail sector and is highly experienced with an in-depth knowledge of the complexities involved in the sector and a clear grasp of the issues and challenges’. It is known for its considerable strength in depth across all aspects of the rail sector (infrastructure, operating franchises/concessions and rolling stock in both passenger and freight markets) and is regularly involved in high-profile national projects as well as local schemes that add value to the local and regional economy. Other core areas of expertise include advising public sector authorities on devolved rail schemes and it has a leading rail disputes practice too. There have been changes to the team at a senior level – Clive Smith is now at gunnercooke LLP, while Simon Gwynne has joined the team from Norton Rose Fulbright and Rachel Scott is a new addition to the practice from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. The team is praised for its ability to ‘provide risk-based advice, on time and in a personable manner’.

Practice head(s):

Paul Hirst; Anna Heaton

Other key lawyers:

Simon Gwynne; Rachel Scott; Ursula Gould; Ross Sandford; Andrew Carter; Cornelia Schaffer


‘The team was responsive and very professional. They quickly became embedded in, and very much part of the project team. The team is strong on project finance issues so their expertise and general knowledge of the rail industry was key‘.

‘The AG Rail team has been a pleasure to work with – very easy to build a great ‘remote working’ relationship despite never having met in person. Top-drawer legal advice and analysis, delivered with a refreshing dose of clarity, frankness and good humour’.

‘Ursula Gould has been a delight to work with. Incredibly sharp and perceptive; fantastic command of the highly complex contracts she advises us on; able to explain very complicated issues in clear, simple, non-legal terms; always meets client’s needs with a smile’.

‘Ross Sandford has a calm and approachable manner coupled with in-depth industry knowledge and consistently provides reliable advice. Andrew Carter is capable with a sharp mind, able to quickly understand and advise on highly technical matters’.

‘A real can-do attitude and willingness to challenge and be challenged, in a friendly and open way. A really well balanced team with different skills, experiences and working styles, who complement each other well.’

‘Understanding of the relevant law, the firm has an exceptional understanding of the complexities of us as a client. The lawyers always respond speedily, constructively, clearly and explicitly to enquiries‘.

‘The key capabilities of the team are: strong depth of expertise from associate through to partner, ability to meet tight deadlines with quality advice and the ability to work across multiple jurisdictions whilst understanding local laws and customs’.

‘Paul Hirst for his specialist Rail industry knowledge and expertise. Always available and knows the client’s commercial drivers and pinch points’.

Work highlights

  • Advised a key government department on the development and roll out of the new National Rail Contract (replacing franchise agreements).
  • Successfully defended a substantial company against a major challenge to the awarding of the £1.3 bn contract for the development of Old Oak Common Station.
  • Advised a major rail company on the leasing of circa 1,000 vehicles into the South Eastern network.


Ashurst frequently advises on the most complex rail deals and acts for many of the leading players in the rail sector with particular strength in the public sector. Under the leadership of Terry van Poortvliet, Mark Elsey and Naomi Horton the group also has extensive experience in the private sector and regularly works with the key regulatory bodies. It is best known for its rail franchising expertise as well as its involvement in some of the most nationally significant infrastructure projects. In addition, it has an excellent reputation for its work on rolling stock procurement as well as related asset leasing. The team is well-placed to advise on all aspects of the rail industry such as the acquisitions and disposals of rail-related businesses through to rail regulation, systems and signalling issues as well as on investment projects and general commercial contracts in the rail sector. Senior associate Jamie Illingworth is also a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Terry van Poortvliet; Mark Elsey; Naomi Horton

Other key lawyers:

Jamie Illingworth


‘The rail team at Ashurts has a wealth of knowledge in the sector but the real benefit they provide is the way in which they truly integrate themselves within the organisation without overstepping the mark. They are solutions focused and extremely responsive’.

‘Mark Elsey is the true definition of a client friendly lawyer – he has a solution driven approach and delivers advice in a manner that is very easy to understand. Terence van Poortvliet is technically excellent and firm when he needs to be’.

‘Knowledge of the transportation sector, availability, reliability, clarity of answers & communication, relationship building. Naomi Horton’.

Key clients

Department for Transport



Transport for London

HS2 Ltd

East West Rail

Docklands Light Railway


Hitachi Rail

City of Edinburgh

National Express

Angel Trains

Agility Trains


Women in Rail (Pro bono)

Railway Children (Pro bono)

Transport for Greater Manchester

Work highlights

  • Advising Department for Transport on a very significant re-shaping of the rail industry since privatisation 30 years ago, in relation to how the existing industry structure might be changed, improved, and re-balanced in order to realise the ambitious and necessary goals of the DfT within The Williams Shapps Review.
  • Advising HS2 Ltd on the structuring, contract development and procurement of nine separate Rail System packages and ground-breaking overarching Alliance arrangements for Phases 1 and 2A of the HS2 project.
  • Advising KeolisAmey on the “first of a kind” infrastructure transfer of the Core Valley Lines rail infrastructure from Network Rail to Keolis Amy and the setting up of KeolisAmey as a brand new rail Infrastructure Manager (alongside Network Rail) involving complex bespoke rail regulatory and stakeholder issues.

Burges Salmon LLP

Through its Bristol and London offices, Burges Salmon LLP fields a large and dedicated rail team that covers a broad range of issues. Its clients include the UK’s largest train operating groups as well as several of their JV partners. The group is skilled at advising on a range of complex issues relating to rail infrastructure, health and safety and regulatory matters. In addition it has been involved in some of the most significant franchising matters in recent years and has handled many of the UK’s largest rolling stock procurement exercises. Its rail infrastructure practice has also been involved in a range of projects of national importance. Among the key names to note are Simon Coppen who heads the public service contracting unit. Brioney Thomas is another leading figure in the department and heads the transport offering while Chris Jackson leads the firm-wide infrastructure group. Ian Tucker is well regarded for his litigation work and regulatory advice and Chris Simms is also well regarded. Brian Wong was recently promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Ian Tucker; Brioney Thomas; Chris Jackson; Philip Beer; Chris Simms; Simon Coppen; Ann Metherall; Colin Ligman; Brian Wong


‘We have a long-standing relationship with the Rail team at Burges Salmon and have always found them extremely responsive in supporting us and able to provide expert advice across all types of legal issues‘.

‘Simon Coppen – encyclopaedic knowledge of the Rail Industry, with a highly proactive can-do attitude and an ability to understand how to get to an agreed position. Brioney Thomas – brings wide experience from advising on all sides of the rail industry’.

‘Brioney Thomas, Simon Coppen and Chris Lewis are always very dependable, responsive and provide detailed and considered information. They have extensive knowledge of the Rail sector‘.

Specific experience and knowledge of the rail industry legal position including its regulatory position rather than a general understanding of law as it relates to rail’.

‘Chris Simms, clear understanding of rail delivery risk and how to translate that into legal advice consistent with our exposure’.

‘The Burges Salmon team are experts in their field and have given comprehensive, commercial and prompt advice. In terms of Rail specialism – I would be hard pressed to look elsewhere’.

‘Brioney Thomas and Ian Tucker are super lawyers, who are industry experts and a pleasure to work with’.

‘Simon Coppen is recognised as an industry leading expert on Rail matters. Always available to help guide, support and challenge as appropriate. Ably supported by Brioney Thomas, Chris Lewis and others’.

Key clients

FirstGroup (TOC owner group) and its TOCs (Great Western

Railway, South Western Railway, First TransPennine

Express, Avanti West Coast and Hull Trains)

Abellio Transport Holdings (TOC owner group) and its TOCs

(Merseyrail, West Midlands Trains, East Midlands Trains,

Greater Anglia and ScotRail)

Welsh Government / Transport for Wales

Northern Ireland Railways Company (trading as Translink)

Eurostar International Limited (trading as Eurostar)

Rock Rail East Midlands plc

Rail Delivery Group (ATOC/Rail Settlement Plan)

Transport for London


London Underground

Work highlights

  • Advising the Welsh Government / Transport for Wales (TfW) on its restructuring of the entire means of delivery of rail services in Wales (and cross border).
  • Advising First Rail Holdings and First Trenitalia West Coast Rail Limited on mobilising the West Coast franchise successfully.
  • Advising FirstGroup regarding its subsidiaries, TransPennine Express and South Western Railway, on the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs) put in place following the Covid-19 pandemic and the replacement of franchise agreements with new Public Service Contracts.

Clifford Chance LLP

With Paul Carrington at the helm at Clifford Chance LLP the rail team has consistently acted on the UK’s market leading rail projects over the last 30 years. It has an in-depth understanding of the rail industry and works on behalf of major rail infrastructure bodies, rail sector financiers and manufacturers as well as rail operators. It also works alongside its excellent construction and infrastructure teams on a range of complex rail projects and construction contracts and it is adept at handling complicated franchising matters and rolling stock procurements. Carrington also has extensive experience in structured finance and corporate restructuring work in the rail sector. Michael Pearson advises on major rail projects in the UK and internationally. Ranbir Hunjan specialises in asset financing, leasing and banking in the rail sector. Alain Dodds and Dominic Watts are other significant members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Paul Carrington

Other key lawyers:

Michael Pearson; Ranbir Hunjan; Dominic Watts; Alain Dodds

Key clients


Network Rail

Rock Rail



The Royal Bank of Scotland




EQT Infrastructure


Work highlights

  • Advising Rock in relation to a further major variation to their Manufacture and Supply Agreement with Bombardier Transportation for rolling stock for South Western Railway.
  • Advising Rock in relation to a lease for 150 electric multiple unit vehicles to be operated on various routes terminating in Moorgate, linked to the new National Rail Contract for Govia Thameslink Railway Limited (“GTR”).
  • Advising Hitachi on its agreement to acquire Thales’ Ground Transportation Systems business.


The first-rate team at Dentons advises on all aspects of the rail industry from passenger and freight to infrastructure development and operations. It also excels in light rail and trams as well as regularly advising on a whole host of other issues from franchises and concessions, stock procurement and maintenance to financing, technology and safety matters. It fields a large UK rail team that has a national coverage with significant international capabilities. Matthew Hanslip-Ward heads the team – he has continued to lead on various matters in the aftermath of the Covid 19 pandemic affecting the UK passenger industry and has been involved in several highly strategic projects. Christopher McGee-Osborne also plays a pivotal role in the department while Mark Macaulay is adept at advising on major infrastructure contracts. Counsel Martin Watt has particular expertise in rolling stock matters and senior associate Jonathan Smith’s work spans franchising, concessions and rolling stock.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Hanslip Ward

Other key lawyers:

Martin Watt; Jonathan Smith; Christopher McGee-Osborne; Mark Macaulay


‘In the rail market Dentons has a team with long experience in all aspects of the industry’.

‘Advice and support from Matthew Hanslip-Ward and Jonathan Smith have been excellent over many years – it is always provided swiftly and in an understandable manner with due regard to commercial requirements’.

Key clients

MTR Corporation

Deutsche Bahn

Arriva (including certain of its TOCs)



Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (“Network Rail”)


Transport for London


Rail Delivery Group

MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Limited

GB Railfreight

DB Schenker

DB International Operations


Department for Transport

Work highlights

  • Continuing to support on delivering the Crossrail/Elizabeth Line project due to open fully in Spring 2022 with services commencing operation through the central section tunnel through central London from Paddington to Liverpool Street.
  • Advising on the Police, Rail Accident Investigation Branch and Office of Rail and Road investigations into the tragic derailment near Stonehaven/Carmont on 12 August 2020, with the Report published on 10 March 2022.
  • Assisted Britishvolt on acquiring and developing its UK site including the development of a rail connected freight terminal. The £4+ bn project will result in the third largest man made structure in the UK being built.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

The team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP provides ‘advice that has been consistently excellent – clearly articulated, pragmatic and showing a very sound appreciation of commercial reality as well as the pure legal considerations’ under the direction of Mark Brunton and Agnes Koko. It has a strong national offering throughout the country and specialises in all aspects of rail commercial and regulatory matters. The group is recommended for its skill at handling rail franchising/operation contracts as well as rolling stock, infrastructure matters in addition to planning and parliamentary issues. The group also has substantial international expertise with a global focus on concessions, rolling stock and infrastructure projects. Anne Harris specialises in rail related commercial contracts such as rail franchise agreements, regulated access agreements and rail project procurement related matters. William Spickett has recently been promoted to the partnership and has a strong track record in advising on rail projects.

Practice head(s):

Mark Brunton; Agnes Koko

Other key lawyers:

Anne Harris; William Spickett; Andrew Bell; Mike Turner


‘The strength in depth in this team is simply excellent. Their experience and expertise are up there with the very best magic circle firms but at a better value price point, largely due to their network of offices countrywide, which work extremely well as a seamless whole’.

‘Annie Harris is superlative. No one understands rolling stock better than Agnes Koko and Will Spickett, who has just made partner is one to watch for the future: smart, collaborative, focussed and not one to score points on the other side for the sake of it’.

‘The key person is Anne Harris who has a comprehensive knowledge of the sector coupled with a commercial sense which means she gives focussed, practical advice’.

‘Agnes Koko – Exceptional knowledge and commercially very aware, does not sit on the fence and also responds quickly when asked questions. Understands client needs and is able to interpret this in legal drafting to reflect the commercial position required’.

‘William Spickett – Very good knowledge and commercially astute. Gives you a balanced view and comes up with some strong arguments to make his points. Will listen to the client and interpret their needs’.

‘At partner level, Annie Harris, Mark Brunton and Agnes Koko have all provided extensive advice to my colleagues and me over very many years. Each of them stands out for their exceptional knowledge and experience, responsiveness, commercial focus, the credibility of their advice and their unflappability‘.

‘Mark Brunton is truly excellent. He invests considerable time to ensure the client understands what they are signing up to and the risks. He works very well with different teams, taking the lead in solving problems and developing solutions’.

‘The individuals I deal with on a regular basis (Agnes Koko, Mike Turner and William Spickett) all use their experience and expertise to good effect and this is evidenced in the advice they give and the outcomes from that advice’.

Key clients

Department for Transport

Network Rail

Deutsche Bahn

West Midlands Combined Authority

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Gavin Williams heads the practice at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP that is highly rated for its work across every aspect of the rail sector on both the contentious and non-contentious side. It has been busy advising on an array of issues from rolling stock procurement and leasing to passenger and freight operations. The skilled team is also adept at advising on regulatory issues and the development of new railway infrastructure. Tim Briggs frequently advises on the rail regulatory regime as well as on competition, procurement and subsidy control matters. John Williams, who is of counsel, has a wealth of experience in advising clients on the development of railways and many other issues including rolling stock maintenance, concession and franchise issues and other operational matters. On the contentious side, David Nitek is a known name in the UK and particularly in the Middle East for his work on major rail infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

Gavin Williams

Other key lawyers:

John Williams; David Nitek; Tim Briggs


‘The knowledge that this team has about my industry and my company in particular is second to none as they have been involved in the drafting of the underpinning documentation that forms the basis of our entire operation’.

‘Recently there have been very large changes in our internal legal team and HSF has been on hand to assist us with that transition’.

‘They are personable and have made us feel that we can reach out with questions by phone or email at any time. Having their firm and steady guiding hand through this relatively unstable period has been priceless’.

Key clients

Stagecoach Group plc

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

HS1 1 Limited

East Midland Trains Limited

Transport for London and London Underground

Dalmore Infrastructure


South West Trains

London Luton Airport Operations Limited

London and North East Railway

Department for Transport/Crown Commercial Service

Linklaters LLP

Linklaters LLP has considerable expertise in all rail matters both domestically and internationally. It advises on the full range of deals from heavy rail matters (including high speed rail) to light rail, rolling stock and train systems as well as station real estate. Fiona Hobbs is recognised for her work on many of the biggest deals in this sector. Charlotte Morgan has immense knowledge of the regulated infrastructure sector. Stuart Rowson is a well-known infrastructure partner and deals with significant rail financings. The first-class team continues to assist a wide range of sponsors, lenders, rolling stock companies and governments to bring some major industry leading rail deals to a close. Jessamy Gallagher  has now moved to Paul Hastings LLP.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Rowson; Fiona Hobbs; Charlotte Morgan

Key clients

Department for Transport

British Government

HS1 Limited

PGGM Vermogensbeheer B.V.

Stephenson Harwood

The ‘extremely knowledgeable team’ at Stephenson Harwood is ‘always pragmatic and at the forefront of all developments in the rail sector’. It has a broad depth of rail expertise across the firm on a whole host of contentious and non-contentious matters including all issues relating to franchising and concession matters. It remains an integral player in the rolling stock market by advising a broad range of procurers, operators and manufacturers on major deals both nationally and internationally. It has particular experience too of assisting train operating companies on procurement issues as well as handling all aspects of rail regulation. Tammy Samuel and Suzanne Tarplee co-head the practice that includes Darren Fodey who has considerable experience in rail regulation and regulated contracts. Paul Thwaite deals with various commercial disputes. Ron Nobbs and Lisa Marks are both well-regarded.

Practice head(s):

Tammy Samuel; Suzanne Tarplee

Other key lawyers:

Darren Fodey; Caroline Hooton; Paul Thwaite; Ron Nobbs; Lisa Marks


‘Excellent, well-skilled and experienced people who excel at collaboration and getting their clients to the best position. Very clear and fair processes and billing’.

‘Suzanne Tarplee for her in-depth knowledge of the Rail Industry, excellent contacts and her in-depth knowledge of our own business (which is often better than that of our own senior employees!)’.

‘An experienced team of partners and associates who know and understand the rail industry and apply that knowledge in a balanced, pragmatic and commercial way. They offer first class knowledge of the rolling stock area from a manufacturer’s perspective and also operators and financiers‘.

A firm that offers all the capabilities you need as a business – not just rail regulatory and commercial, but also litigation/disputes support, corporate, real estate and construction‘.

‘The practice is unique in that the team understands technical and legal issues with a strong ability to adapt to changing situations’.

I work closely with Caroline Hooton who not only has a superb legal knowledge and mind but the ability to understand challenges and work together to develop solutions that are not just fit for purpose but exceed any requirements‘.

‘An unrivalled knowledge of the mechanisms and changes within the rail industry. Act as honest brokers who are able to deliver difficult advice, rather than blindly accepting instruction’.

‘Darren Fodey is very knowledgeable and personable, but also thinks about the wider aspects in the industry and how those may impact on my firm. He also brings wider legal aspects that we wouldn’t necessarily consider into our thinking’.

Key clients

CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles)

Abellio Transport Holdings (including all TOCs – Abellio Greater Anglia, Abellio East Midlands, Abellio West Midlands, Merseyrail and Abellio ScotRail)

Trenitalia UK Limited (and Trenitalia c2c)

Arriva Plc

Arriva UK Trains Limited (including all TOCs – Arriva Rail London, CrossCountry, Chiltern, Grand Central)

Lombard North Central

Transport for London

London Underground Limited

Centrus / Corelink

Northern Trains Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising each of Abellio East Anglia Limited, Abellio Transport Holdings Limited West Midlands Trains Limited, Trenitalia c2c Limited, Trenitalia UK Limited and Arriva UK Trains Limited on entry into the National Rail Contracts.
  • Advising key industry parties on complex arbitrations under the Access Disputes Resolution Regime; in particular related to track access disputes and franchise/concession management.
  • Advising Transport for London on the implementation of the regulatory structure for the £15bn+ Crossrail project, which is particularly exciting and important as the service is due to start in 2022.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP is best known for its work on complex and high value transactions in the rail sector and in particular on infrastructure (light and heavy rail), concessions and rolling stock deals. The practice has a blend of concessions/PPP, financing and regulatory expertise and acts for governments, sponsors, manufacturers and financiers both nationally and internationally. Practice head Jonathan Bevan has extensive experience of advising on domestic and cross-border transactions on a range of rolling stock procurement, rail infrastructure and regulatory matters as well as on the financing aspects of these deals. Tim Conduit is among the other key senior members of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Bevan

Other key lawyers:

Tim Conduit

Key clients

3i Infrastructure

Angel Trains

Alpha Trains/Arcus

Beacon Rail


Eversholt Rail

JP Morgan Infrastructure Investment Funds







Work highlights

  • Advised Hitachi Rail Limited on entry into its joint venture with Bombardier UK Limited and the JV’s successful bid to: 1) manufacture and supply the rolling stock for the HS2 project; and 2) provide maintenance and related services in connection with the rolling stock.
  • Advised on the £178m platform financing, for the purposes of (i) refinancing of Existing Indebtedness, (ii) financing of capital expenditure and permitted acquisitions, and (iii) financing the general corporate and working capital purposes of the Group.
  • Advised Hitachi on all matters related to IEP East and West.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner fields an excellent team that works for leading financiers, operating lessors, investors and developers on a range of significant mandates. It has considerable experience in regulatory and litigation matters and is adept at handling rail financing and leasing work as well as handling disputes in the sector. Jason Chamberlain is vastly experienced in railway infrastructure projects and rail regulatory issues. Head of department Russell Clifford specialises in structured asset finance and leasing on the domestic and cross-border markets. Jamie Wiseman-Clarke is particularly skilled in rolling stock-related work.

Practice head(s):

Russell Clifford

Other key lawyers:

Jason Chamberlain; Jamie Wiseman-Clarke


‘They have amazing experience in leasing and franchising matters, as well as being able to assist on more commercial aspects of rail, and general advice relevant to a company operating in the rail sector’.

‘The BCLP team knows the Rail Leasing business very well, both leasing and procurement activities. Work is invariably carried out to a very high standard. Overall I find BCLP very easy to work with and to a person willing and able to explain detail points to me’.

‘I find that Jamie Wiseman-Clarke and his team really understand our business and so are able to produce accurate documents and amendments with relatively little explanation from us’.

‘Jamie Wiseman Clarke – a technically excellent lawyer, easily the best in the rail industry in terms of technical knowledge. Russell Clifford – outstanding UK Rail expert with unrivalled experience of market changes’.

‘Consistently I have found the team has a warm, can-do approach that I find to be engaging. Making myself and colleagues feel comfortable and not only recognising but helping us overcome any weaknesses and supporting us through the required processes’.

‘The knowledge within the BCLP team is broad and deep, with the team dynamic set such that the most appropriate team member, working within the team ethos of being open, warm and engaging, generally takes the lead’.

‘Jason Chamberlain is dry, patient and understanding. Great strategically and on detail’.

‘Great knowledge, very thorough. Jason Chamberlain is a true enthusiast and a pleasure to work with’.

Key clients

Angel Trains

Beacon Rail

Heathrow Airport

National Westminster Bank

Magway Limited



Alstom Transport

Great Western Developments

Work highlights

  • Advised Angel Trains in connection with its first major corporate acquisition – its acquisition of Readypower, which completed at the end of January 2022.
  • Advised both Angel Trains and Beacon Rail on the impact on their rolling stock leasing arrangements of passenger operators’ existing franchise agreements expiring early and being replaced by direct award franchise agreements.
  • Advised Magway Limited in relation to the establishment of a ground-breaking, sustainable parcel delivery system.


CMS is well-regarded for its work on large infrastructure projects both nationally and internationally. It continues to be active in the Middle East in particular. The group is adept at supporting its clients with the procurement of new build rolling stock (and the associated maintenance and spare parts supply arrangements) and with the financing aspects of rolling stock (including the leasing of rolling stock). It also garners praise for its light rail expertise and has considerable strength on the contentious side too. Names to note are Bill Carr who focuses on rolling stock procurement and maintenance arrangements; Eleanor Lane who has a wealth of experience in the modernisation of subway systems and David Moore who advises on various issues such rail projects (including PPPs), rolling stock procurement and rail franchising.

Practice head(s):

Bill Carr; Eleanor Lane; David Moore

Other key lawyers:

Chris Hallam


‘The team provides a commercial and cost effective solution to complex legal negotiations’.

‘Chris Hallam provides a very pragmatic and an excellent client focussed approach’.

‘A great team with a broad base of experience to draw upon’.

Key clients

Tramlink Nottingham

Eurostar International Limited

Aviva Investors

Sun Life Capital Management

John Laing Infrastructure Fund

Ricardo Rail

Mace Limited and Dragados SA

KPMG Al Fozan

Korfez Ulastirma A.S.

Stagecoach Rail

Government of Mexico

Transport Scotland/Scottish Government

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport

Edinburgh Trams

Serco Caledonian Sleeper

Work highlights

  • Advising Etihad Rail on various issues relating to the operation of Stage 2 of the $11 bn,1,200km railway network that will extend across the United Arab Emirates, from the border of Saudi Arabia to the border of Oman.
  • Advising the Mace Dragados JV on the transformation of Euston Station in connection with the construction of the High Speed Two Railway Link between London and the West Midlands.
  • Appointed by KPMG to work with them and AECOM in advising The King Fahd Causeway Authority in Saudi Arabia on the development of the $3.5bn King Hamad Causeway, which connects Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

DLA Piper

Robert Smith and Colin Wilson head the practice at DLA Piper that acts for both private and public sector clients in the rail sector on a wide a range of issues. The versatile team is skilled at delivering high-profile rolling stock procurements, advising on rail franchise competitions and on wider infrastructure projects. It has a detailed knowledge of the UK statutory and regulatory regime and is well-placed to advise on many complex matters relating to the regulation of the rail industry in the UK. It also has an excellent planning practice and the group is recommended too for its work on various operational matters such as franchise support and rolling stock leasing in addition to health and safety matters, station and depot leasing and competition law.

Practice head(s):

Robert Smith; Colin Wilson

Other key lawyers:

Carla Hancock; Howard Bassford


‘Robert Smith stands out as his knowledge of the sector is phenomenal, his ability to understand both the law and the commercial makes him a stand out trusted business adviser. This is a new relationship but very promising’.

‘Experienced, professional and adaptive to the developing requirements of the project’.

‘Howard Bassford has provided a guiding mind to our project, his knowledge of the planning process in general and the requirements of Development Consent Order applications in particular being a critical strength’.

Key clients

Abellio Transport Holdings Limited

Agility Trains

Department for Transport

East West Rail Company Limited

Hitachi Rail Europe

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive / South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority

Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (Nexus)

Volkerrail Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Department for Transport on the £1.4bn refinancing of the Thameslink Rolling Stock project.
  • Acting for HS2 in respect of complex environmental, planning and protestor matters for Phase 1 of HS2.
  • Advising Nexus on MetroFlow project, a pathfinder project to expand capacity of a light rail system through transfer of underused Network Rail assets.

K&L Gates LLP

K&L Gates LLP has a ‘thorough understanding of the sector‘ and continues to play a pivotal role in some major projects both nationally and internationally. Its expertise relates principally to light rail metro and mass transit systems. In addition it has extensive experience in advising on complex signalling procurements. Practice head Matthew Smith regularly works on complex and high value rail infrastructure projects. Nicola Ellis has significant  experience in signalling contracts. Special counsel Inga Hall is another important member of the team. Senior associate Daniel Lopez has a wealth of experience in advising on non-contentious infrastructure projects particularly in the rail sector. Sarah Drinkwater (also a senior associate) concentrates on rail-related adjudications and international arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Smith

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Ellis; Inga Hall; Sarah Drinkwater; Daniel Lopez


‘The team possesses a serious depth of experience and provides quality advice in contentious and non-contentious matters. It is equally adept at drafting conditions and dealing with disputes in the UK and internationally’.

‘Matthew Smith has a vast amount of experience in rail and works for many of the major players in the sector. He really gets to the core of a dispute quickly, is a brilliant tactician who provides pragmatic advice to his clients’.

‘Nicola Ellis focuses on non-contentious matters, she has a great eye for detail and works seamlessly with clients undertaking complex infrastructure projects. She really knows her stuff and provides excellent advice‘.

Inga Hall has extensive experience in rail and gives excellent, considered advice on contentious and non-contentious matters. She understands the detail of the matter, is never flustered and works tirelessly for her clients‘.

‘Sarah Drinkwater has an in-depth knowledge of the full gamut of issues that can arise in the sector. She is a smart commercially aware lawyer, who gives great advice in a timely no nonsense manner, and is an absolute pleasure to work with.’

‘Matt Smith is very considered and balanced in his review and advice on matters related to the sector. He provides solid guidance and clear advice on contractual issues and the law. Sarah Drinkwater is proactive and focused on the key issues’.

‘The moment you speak to the Rail team, you know you are in good hands. Their partner, Matthew Smith, will put you at ease and will be able to find solutions for you based on his vast experience all over the world’.

‘Matthew Smith is an all rounder, put his clients at ease and has vast experience for Metros all around the world. This makes him really reliable and a go -to lawyer when you need an innovative way of coming up with documents’.

Key clients

Hitachi Rail Ltd

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

Crossrail Ltd

Qatar Rail

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

Tube Lines Limited

Rail for London Limited

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright has a broad client base that includes governments, rail companies, transport authorities and other companies such as cargo and rolling stock owning companies as well as train operating companies, manufacturers and leasing companies.  It has considerable international expertise and the group frequently advises on many high-profile rail transactions both in the UK and globally. The full service offering is now headed by Andrew Buisson. There have been changes to the practice with the departures of Simon Gwynne to Addleshaw Goddard and Tom Johnson to Freeths LLP, but Susanna Rogers remains a key member of the team and is highly rated for her considerable experience in advising on competition and regulatory matters in the rail sector; and counsel Louise Auty is also active in the field.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Buisson

Other key lawyers:

Susanna Rogers; Louise Auty

Key clients

DB Cargo (UK) Limited / DB Cargo International Limited (together “DBC”)

The City of Ottawa

Crown Commercial Services

Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee

The Department for Transport (DfT)

DVB Bank SE and DZ Bank AG

The Go-Ahead Group Plc

Joint venture between Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Limited and Fluor Limited (the JV)

Lagos State Government

Lombard North Central plc

Metrolinx (Greater Toronto Transportation Authority)

Stadler Rail

Work highlights

  • Advising Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario who are the procuring authorities for the proposed westward extension of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail project in Toronto.
  • Advising DBC on compensation and mitigation strategies.
  • Advising Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee on the construction and financing of their multi-user expansion project.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP has an impressive roster of clients. It has considerable expertise in rail franchising, concession agreements and other issues relating to fare and ticketing reform. Another core area of expertise is advising on rail procurement disputes. In addition the group is recognised for its specialist asset financing and leasing work and receives a steady flow of work from leading rolling stock leasing companies. The group under the leadership of Lara Burch also excels in advising on regulated procurement work in the rail sector. Edward Barratt is an experienced rail and rolling stock lawyer; and Jeremy Godley is another well-regarded practitioner. Craig McCarthy, who was promoted to partner in 2021, has led on significant procurement litigation matters.

Practice head(s):

Lara Burch

Other key lawyers:

Jeremy Godley; Edward Barratt; Craig McCarthy


‘Value for money. You get a lot for your money. Love the training and breakfast discussion groups OC provides’.

‘Ed Barratt – great partner cool calm and collected, a thinker, excellent negotiation style looks for solutions’.

They have provided really useful support on a number of key issues and have provided strong advice in the rail space’.

‘Their knowledge is wider ranging and they have supported a number of matters related to rail and wider commercial considerations’.

‘They are very clear in their billing process and keep regular engagement and communication on any number of issues and ongoing work streams’.

‘They provide a high quality service and are really supportive in any odd queries and are able to provide good support’.

Key clients

Department for Transport

Eversholt Rail Group

Beacon Rail Leasing

Transport for London


Rail Delivery Group

Office of Rail and Road

Western Power Distribution

Eurostar International



Ricardo Rail

BT and EE Limited


Work highlights

  • Strengthened relationship with the Department for Transport as one of eight panel firms, undertaking challenging and high profile mandates across rail franchising, fares and ticketing reform and regulated procurement.
  • Advising Beacon on the acquisition and leaseback of 109 T77 locomotives from Netherlands-based freight operator Lineas.
  • Advising BT plc and EE Limited on a 20-year agreement with BAI Communications to deliver mobile connectivity on the London Underground.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Jonathan Hart leads the practice at Pinsent Masons LLP that advises on all aspects of rail assets and projects. It is recommended for its advice on the planning and consenting issues relating to large rail and other infrastructure projects across all sectors in the UK. In addition the team is well-regarded for its work on rolling stock and rail assets, PPS, procurements and planning in addition to civil engineering contracts. Robbie Owen is a recommended infrastructure planning lawyer and has substantial experience in advising on the promotion of major UK rail projects. Anne-Marie Friel is highly rated for her work on multi-party civil project joint ventures. Duncan O’Connor is now at BDB Pitmans.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hart

Other key lawyers:

Robbie Owen; Anne-Marie Friel


‘Good understanding of the rail industry and regulations. Good commercial approach‘.

Key clients

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII)

Yapı Merkezi İnşaat ve Sanayi A.Ş.

Eiffage Génie Civil,

Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited,

Ferrovial Construction Limited

BAM Nuttall Limited

Balfour Beatty




Strabag AG




Sir Robert McAlpine

Ferrovial Agroman




Medway Council

Northumberland County Council

Volkerrail Story Contracting Joint Venture

Work highlights

  • Appointed to the Parliamentary Agents panel for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in connection with its successful application under the Transport and Works Act for powers to construct and operate the Birmingham Eastside extension of the Midland Metro tramway.
  • Working as TII’s counsel to advise on the procurement of the Dublin Metrolink project, the largest civil engineering project in the Republic of Ireland and one of the largest procurements in Europe.
  • Advising on a number of matters relating to the HS2 project.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is praised for its ‘flexible approach to meeting the needs of its clients in a time efficient and cost-effective way’. David Rewcastle whose ‘knowledge of the industry and the law is second to none’ heads the practice. It continues to act for a broad range of train operator clients. The dynamic team has also been involved in some key rail and infrastructure projects and is adept at handling planning and authorisation issues. Paul Coleman specialises in heavy and light rail franchises, concessions and related mobilisations as well as rolling stock financing, procurement and rail infrastructure projects. Associate Joseph Causer is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

David Rewcastle

Other key lawyers:

Paul Coleman; Joseph Causer; Todd Rayner; Kevin Bell


‘The WBD Transport Team is exceptionally knowledgeable in regards to the transport sector with particular reference to all issues regarding the railway sector. They understand our business and are able to support all our requirements thoroughly and efficiently’.

‘Paul Coleman is an outstanding individual. He has an uncanny skill of being able to navigate the most complex of negotiations and legal issues in a manner that completely reassures the client. Paul has an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the railway’.

‘Joseph Causer is a frequently sought after lawyer from the transport team. Intelligent and articulate, he brings a clear sense of reassurance and confidence to any matter and is able to change complex subject matter into the simplest of words’.

Todd Rayner is a stand out lawyer. Todd is highly reliable, responsive and provides sound counsel. He is exceedingly personable and carries the right level of enthusiasm to see through the most tedious of client driven drafting requirements‘.

‘David Rewcastle was extremely focused on securing the optimal outcome for us as a client. Despite working with us for over a year on this project, at no time did we even feel that any other client or work was going on at the same time’.

‘I can honestly say that it has been a pleasure to work with Womble Bond Dickinson over the course of the last two years. David Rewcastle is an ultimate professional. He is extremely knowledgeable and has been integral to the success of our project’.

‘The Team at WBD is highly skilled, knowledgeable and always available to help. They have a wealth of knowledge in the rail and transport sector and have a broad set of capabilities within the team, so there is always a solution to hand’.

‘David Rewcastle, Kevin Bell and Paul Coleman each have a wealth of knowledge in the general commercial, commercial property and regulatory areas of railway and, together their capabilities in the rail and transport sector are unmatched’.

Key clients

Go-Ahead Group plc/Govia


Govia Thameslink Railway

London & South Eastern Railway Limited (Southeastern)




London North Eastern Railway


Network Rail Infrastructure Limited


The Chiltern Railway Company Limited

SE Trains Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Southeastern on the handover of the South Eastern franchise to SE Trains Limited.
  • Advising Govia Thameslink Rail on its ongoing proposal for a new National Rail Contract template.
  • Advising Chiltern Railways on various property and regulatory issues related to the new Direct Award National Rail Contract for the Chiltern Railways franchise.

Gowling WLG

Giles Clifford heads the practice at Gowling WLG that is recommended for its work in diverse areas such as rail station development and station upgrades as well as overstation and over track development. It supports rail freight operators and users and has extensive experience of acting for developers and operators of logistics facilities. Its pensions and employment practices are also skilled at advising on the Railways Pensions Schemes. Dominic Richardson continues to be involved in numerous rolling stock transactions. Richard Green and Sarah Riding are among the other key members of the practice at a senior level.

Practice head(s):

Giles Clifford

Other key lawyers:

Dominic Richardson; Richard Green; Sarah Riding

Key clients

Transport for London

Transport for Greater Manchester

London Underground Ltd

Crossrail Ltd

Docklands Light Railway Ltd

Rail for London Ltd

London Bus Services Ltd

London Borough of Barnet

GB Railfreight

Ricardo Rail PLC

Office of Rail and Road

Arden Cross Consortium

Railroad Development Corporation

Devon and Cornwall Railways

CRRC Corporation

Bombardier Transportation UK Limited

Arch Co


Alstom Transport UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised London Borough of Barnet on all rail aspects of the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration, including the new Thameslink station.
  • Advised Transport for London on the development agreement with Aviva for over the Crossrail and London Underground lines at Liverpool Street.
  • Acted as Bombardier’s legal adviser on the renegotiation of its Manufacture and Supply Agreement (MSA) with Angel Trains and Abellio Greater Anglia in relation to the supply of a fleet of Aventra trains for the Greater Anglia network.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Practice head at Hogan Lovells International LLP is counsel Charles Ford who has a strong presence in the rail sector. Ford has been heavily involved in some recent developments in the rail industry such as the Government’s rail reform agenda and the sector’s Covid response. The group has advised on some major projects in the UK and it has also been active on some large and important projects in Europe recently. The team is able to utilise the firm’s international network of offices to assist on some key rail matters globally. Andrew Gallagher continues to advise lenders, sponsors and borrowers on a variety of rail projects.

Practice head(s):

Charles Ford

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Gallagher


‘Working with Hogan Lovells is built on collaboration – you really notice that the team invests time in understanding your needs as a client’.

‘Technically very strong but also a personable team that are pleasant to work with, even in stressful situations’.

‘Charles Ford brings great knowledge and provides detailed advice on some really complex issues’.

Key clients

Rail Baltica

Cross London Trains

Work highlights

  • Appointed to advise on the EUR multi billion High Speed Rail Baltica project – the largest Baltic-region infrastructure project in the last 100 years.
  • Advise Cross London Trains Limited on the £2.5bn Thameslink rolling stock programme. Recetly it has been advising on a number of programme, acceptance and operational matters, and is advising on further significant variations and commencing work on a refinancing.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Winckworth Sherwood LLP has a proven track record in the rail sector and has been instrumental in the promotion of major railway infrastructure and tramway schemes. It regularly advises on issues as diverse as compulsory purchases and compensation, related property issues and environmental impact assessments as well as planning and statutory procedures. Head of department Paul Irving specialises in advising on the drafting of legislation in relation to railways. Hazel Anderson is well-regarded for her infrastructure planning work.

Practice head(s):

Paul Irving

Other key lawyers:

Hazel Anderson; Alex Dillistone; Jane Wakeman; Emma Rodican-Jones


‘Has unique experience in acting for the Government in the promotion of hybrid Bills for major railway infrastructure (HS2, Crossrail, HS1 etc)’.

‘Paul Irving remains one of the best Parliamentary Agents in the business for advice on major railway projects’.

‘They remain the stand out team in this highly specialised and complex sector’.

‘Tremendous experience and track record of success in promoting national and other major transport schemes through Parliamentary and statutory consent procedures.

‘Intellectually very powerful practitioners. Long standing emphasis on carefully structured and principled legal advice in support of robust and defensible outcomes. Incredibly approachable and down to earth individuals. A sheer joy to work with’.

‘Paul Irving remains the clear first choice by a long distance in this field. Formidable judgment worn astonishingly lightly’.

‘Hazel Anderson is the go to practitioner in this field for authoritative advice on environmental assessment and related regulatory matters’.

‘Alex Dillistone always provides the most clear and astutely focused advice. Jane Wakeham and Emma Rodican Jones are particularly strong in advising on negotiating settlement’.

Key clients

Secretary of State for Transport

Crossrail Ltd

Department for Transport

West Midlands Combined Authority (formerly Centro)

Network Rail

Work highlights

  • Advised DfT on the promotion of 3 bills to authorise the High Speed 2 rail network.
  • Advised Network Rail on the Transport and Works Act order to authorise Phase 2 of the East West Rail project.
  • Advised Network Rail on the promotion of 3 orders to authorise the closure of a multiplicity of level crossings in East Anglia.

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans focuses on the planning and authorisation aspects of rail schemes. It is particularly well equipped to help its clients in obtaining authorisations for major infrastructure projects (covering both light and heavy rail). In addition it has five ‘Roll A’ Parliamentary Agents who offer substantial experience in the promotion and opposition of railway bills. Mark Challis heads the team that was pleased to add Duncan O’Connor to its ranks from Pinsent Masons LLP. O’Connor has a wealth of experience in the rail sector too.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis

Other key lawyers:

Duncan O’Connor; Sarah Clark; Nick Evans


‘Great experience in the rail infrastructure sector, who have driven through many of the most important railway schemes to consent in recent years’.

‘Mark Challis – measured and careful lawyer who leads an excellent team. Sarah Clarke- clever, hardworking and engaging’.

‘Very strong on Parliamentary work. Good knowledge of the intricacies of parliamentary procedure’.

‘Nicholas Evans a practical and balanced approach combined with detailed knowledge of rail industry issues and parliamentary procedure’.

‘Duncan O’Connor has been a stand out on the basis that he is pragmatic when exercising advice on issues and this helps enormously when taking risk based decisions. He is also accessible and quick to respond to queries which makes the client feel they are always a priority’.

‘The team consists of all of the necessary skills/backgrounds required of a large scale infrastructure project and all of those involved have illustrated their significant expertise and experience to the benefit of the project/client’.

‘Duncan O’Connor is very knowledgeable and diligent but is also very approachable and easy to work with. The latter helps enormously when working together on long and relatively high pressured projects’.

Key clients

Network Rail

Transport for London

Transport for Greater Manchester

HS2 Petitioners – various

Transport for Wales

Northumberland County Council

Nottingham City Council

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Work highlights

  • Advise a wide variety of parties affected by HS2 Phases 1, 2a and 2b. These include Transport for Greater Manchester, who are negotiating agreements for the protection and extension of the Manchester Metrolink required as a result of HS2.
  • Advising Transport for London on the Bakerloo Line extension since 2014. It will be promoted by way of a TWAO in due course. In the meantime it is advising on various aspects of the scheme, that was formally safeguarded by the Secretary of State in March 2021.
  • Advising Northumberland County Council on the Northumberland Line, a project involving the construction of six new stations and other works to enable the reintroduction of passenger services on a 30km section of line between Ashington and Newcastle.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP has considerable global capabilities in the rail sector and regularly advises on complex matters spanning rail infrastructure to rolling stock work. Its broad client base includes government authorities, operators and developers as well as leasing companies, financial institutions and other rail related businesses. Graeme McLellan leads the practice and focuses on asset financing in the rail sector. In addition McLellan regularly works on some key international transactions and continues to advise on some major rolling stock deals.

Practice head(s):

Graeme McLellan

Other key lawyers:

Richard Hughes

Key clients

Equitix Limited

Eversholt Rail

Work highlights

  • Advising Equitix Limited in relation to the on-going financing of the development of the Norwich Crown Point Light Maintenance Depot (NCP).
  • Advising Equitix Limited in respect of the financing of the construction of a new stabling facility for the overnight storage of certain new “fixed formation” rolling stock with no doors at the ends of individual carriages.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a large asset finance practice. It routinely handles domestic and cross-border projects for rolling stock lessors, financial institutions, investors, train operators and other clients including manufacturers and public bodies. Louise Mor leads the practice and has considerable experience in the rail sector. Ryland Ash is another known name and is a skilled construction lawyer.

Practice head(s):

Louise Mor

Other key lawyers:

Ryland Ash


‘What I like the most is that Louise Mor is available for us anytime, she is responsive, efficient, competent!’.

Key clients


KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH

Alpha Trains

InfraVia Capital Partners


Work highlights

  • Advising Nexrail, a new rolling stock lessor operating in Western Europe, on the acquisition and financing of its rolling stock portfolio.
  • Advising KfW as lender in respect of a £47m secured loan to Wascosa UK, financing the purchase of 570 new Greenbrier freight wagons, to be leased to Network Rail in the UK.