Rail in London

Ashurst

Ashurst offers 'fantastic breadth and depth' in advising key public and private sector players on complex rail work, covering franchising, projects and infrastructure and rolling stock. The firm is one of the key advisers on the Department for Transport's rail legal panel, and has been advising the department on the proposed Western Rail Link connecting the Great Western Main Line to Heathrow. The practice - which is co-chaired by Naomi Horton, who 'stands out' in the sector - is a long-term adviser to Crossrail on all major commercial matters, and has also been working with the Keolis Amey joint venture on the successful bid for the Wales and Borders franchise, the largest contract let by the Welsh Government. Fellow co-chair Mark Elsey is 'unusually pragmatic' and adeptly handles complex transport projects in both the UK and abroad, while Terence Van Poortvliet recently assumed the position of EMEA/US head of infrastructure and is particularly active in M&A, franchising, rolling stock, and infrastructure. Joss Dare provides 'excellent counsel', and in 2019 relocated from the Dubai office to join the London team.

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Turner; Stuart Cottis

Testimonials

The team is led by Mark Elsey, which means that the team as a whole is shaped by his wide experience of many rail projects, giving a unique perspective to its advice. Mark Elsey is unusually pragmatic and doesn’t get bogged down (or bog his client down) with details that are largely irrelevant to a broad commercial negotiation. This is much appreciated, enabling focus on the important issues.

The team has fantastic breadth and depth. They really know their stuff and are highly proactive in keeping in touch with their clients and their business strategies. A very supportive and responsive team.’

Naomi Horton stands out in the UK rail sector. She is totally devoted to her client’s interests and always responsive. She knows her sector inside out and works effectively with other practice areas to ensure a truly seamless service. Joss Dare is valued for his unrivaled knowledge of the Middle East and his excellent counsel.’

The team’s prior experience and expertise in rail franchising was beneficial because a) it allowed us to understand the challenges in an efficient manner and b) provided useful references and precedents.’

The Ashurst team has excellent industry experience which ranks at least as high as any other firm. Naomi Horton is a very knowledgeable rail lawyer with a very good practice. She is a great guide to a client through the world or rail.’

Key clients

Crossrail Ltd.

Transport for London

Amey Keolis Infrastructure / Seilwaith Amey Keolis Limited

Keolis Amey Operations / Gweithrediadau Keolis Amery Limited

Department for Transport

East West Rail Company

Hitachi

City of Edinburgh Council (CEC)

National Express

Women in Rail & Railway Children (Pro bono client)

Railway Children (Pro bono client)

Angel Trains

Agility Trains

West Coast Partnership

Abellio

Virgin Rail Group

Stagecoach

SNCF

Docklands Light Railway

HS2 Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Department for Transportation on the Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtH), a proposed new 6.5km rail link between the Great Western Main Line (GWML) and Heathrow Airport.
  • Advised KeolisAmey on their successful bid for the operation of rail services and infrastructure management on the Wales and Borders franchise.
  • Acted for West Coast Trains Limited (WCTL) in relation to the demobilisation and handover of the Intercity West Coast passenger rail franchise to successor operator, First Trenitalia West Coast Rail Limited.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP's team - described as 'the gold standard for rail legal teams in the UK' - provides advice to a broad range of rail authorities and private sector rail operators on franchising matters, rolling stock issues, and projects and infrastructure, as well as offering regulatory advice on rail health and safety. Longstanding clients include UK and Japanese train operating groups, both for passenger and freight, which the team advises on major projects and innovations in the sector. Practice leader Brioney Thomas's notable recent work has included advising Transport for Wales on the transfer of the Core Valley Lines infrastructure from Network Rail. The Bristol-based Simon Coppen has recently advised on infrastructure modernisation for the Isle of Wight's Island Line, while the head of the firmwide transport group Chris Jackson is a safety and risk specialist and handles a range of key public law and regulatory matters. In 2019, Lydia Cullimore and Rupert Lugg were both promoted to director; Jacob Preisner focuses primarily on project finance while Lucy Pegler is a transport technology specialist.

Testimonials

The gold standard for rail legal teams in the UK. The industry knowledge and strength in depth is formidable.’

What Simon Coppen doesn’t know about rail industry law isn’t worth knowing. He has a staggering depth of experience and expertise; delivers advice calmly, clearly, and always with a clear focus on the commercial context.’

Chris Jackson is known for his great dedication to the clients.’

The team has exceptional sector knowledge with an enviable list of large and loyal clients. The team also has excellent technical lawyers. The members of the teamwork well together and are able to put together highly talented bespoke teams for individual cases.’

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

Transport for London

Investec

London Underground

Work highlights

  • Assisted longstanding client First Group and its joint venture partner Trenitalia with the mobilisation of the West Coast Franchise.
  • Advised Rock Rail East Midlands plc, on the £400m financing of a new fleet of Hitachi trains for Abellio UK’s East Midlands Railway.
  • Continued to advise Transport for Wales on the first-of-its-kind project to transfer the Core Valley Lines infrastructure from Network Rail to Transport for Wales to allow for the delivery of a vertically integrated rail network.

Clifford Chance LLP

The 'dynamic team' at Clifford Chance LLP acts for investors, operators, manufacturers, and suppliers on a range of matters from complex transactions to franchising. The practice has played a key role on a number of major developments in UK rail infrastructure, successfully advising Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments on rolling stock procurements. Paul Carrington, who leads the practice, specialises in sales, leasing, and financing, as well as structured finance and corporate restructuring, working with partners including asset finance specialist Ranbir Hunjan. Well-regarded senior associate Dominic Watts focuses on rail financing and leasing.

Practice head(s):

Paul Carrington

Testimonials

Dynamic team that gives full confidence to the client. Dominic Watts is an excellent lawyer.

Key clients

LGIM

Network Rail

Rock Rail

Aviva

Hitachi

The Royal Bank of Scotland

SMBC

ING

Lombard

EQT Infrastructure

Akiem Group

Equitix

Work highlights

  • Acted for a consortium between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments in relation to the procurement and financing of circa £350m of new Hitachi bi-mode and electric multiple units.
  • Acted for funders in relation to the financing of a sale and leaseback transaction in relation to new Class 345 ‘Elizabeth line’ trains procured from Bombardier by Transport for London, under which those trains were acquired by 345 Rail Leasing and leased back to Transport for London.
  • Advised a combination of both institutional and bank lenders on the financing of multiple fleets of new-build rolling stock for the Wales & Borders Franchise, following Keolis Amey’s successful bid in June of 2018.

Dentons

Dentons advises on a broad spread of work across the rail sector, such as freight and passenger rolling stock procurement, rail finance, environment, safety, as well as high-profile international projects. Head of rail Matthew Hanslip-Ward led the team on advising on the West Coast Partnership (HS2) franchise bid and related High Court litigation, and his work extends to projects in the US, Africa, and South America. Christopher McGee-Osborne has recently advised clients on franchise renegotiations with the UK Government and provided franchise advice on the Western Rail Link to Heathrow. Senior associate Jonathan Smith has continued to advise MTR Crossrail on concession management for further stage opening on the Elizabeth Line, while counsel Martin Watt - considered an 'exceptional lawyer' - is highly experienced in rolling stock, franchising and regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Hanslip Ward

Testimonials

They have a deep knowledge of the market practice and can provide commercial counseling when approaching contentious topics. They are also constantly updated in the statute evolution and provide valuable information about trends in legislation.’

Martin Watt is an exceptional lawyer with deep knowledge of the market and who is very helpful to manage complex negotiations.’

Key clients

MTR Corporation

Deutsche Bahn

Virgin (including Virgin East Coast)

Stagecoach

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (“Network Rail”)

Alstom

Transport for London

Mitsui

Rail Delivery Group

MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Limited

GB Railfreight

DB Schenker

China Rail and Signal Communication (CRSC) Co

CAF

Transnet

DB International Operations

Transdev

Work highlights

  • Continued providing strategic advice to Deutsche Bahn and Arriva in relation to the Northern franchise that they have owned and operated since April 2016.
  • Advised Network Rail in relation to all aspects of the compulsory liquidation of British Steel Ltd. (BSL).
  • Continued to advise MTR on the £1.4bn concession to operate Crossrail, having supported MTR on its successful bid in 2014.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has particularly strengths in rail concessions, franchises, infrastructure projects, and rolling stock, as well as disputes, real estate, and planning and finance matters in the rail sector. The firm is a tier 1 member of the UK Government's Crown Commercial Services rail panel, and recent work highlights have included advising the Department for Transport on the acquisition of 40 class 365 units. During 2019 the firm was also reappointed to the Network Rail Legal Panel. Practice co-leader Mark Brunton focuses on commercial contracts, including rail infrastructure, rolling stock-related contracts, and rail franchise agreements, while practice co-leader Anne Harris focuses on rail franchise agreements and rail project procurement matters. Agnes Koko advises on complex rail infrastructure projects, particularly brown and greenfield railways, and advising on PPP structures in North America, Asia, and the Middle East.

Practice head(s):

Mark Brunton; Anne Harris

Testimonials

Exceptional / unrivalled knowledge of the market and contracts for rail franchising and rolling stock, accumulated through a long history of dealing with these matters since rail privatisation. At partner level, Annie Harris and Agnes Koko particularly stand out for both their knowledge and the confidence with which they advise; Agnes also for her robustness in tricky commercial negotiations. Mark Brunton has also provided excellent, very thorough legal and commercial advice.

Good working knowledge of the rail industry and the regulatory framework. Anne Harris and Andrew Bell are both commercial in their outlook and able to navigate the regulations to find commercial solutions.’

The team has a breadth and depth of knowledge that helps them stand out. Their familiarity with the history of rail means that they can put their advice into context and tailor it with the knowledge of what has (and hasn’t) worked well in the past.’

Eversheds Sutherland partners such as Mark Brunton and Agnes Koko know the sector and its players very well, which enables them to put their advice into context and can help smooth negotiations.

Key clients

Department for Transport (UK)

Transport for London

Network Rail

Light Rail Manilla Ltd.

DB Engineering and Consulting GmbH and DB Engineering & Consulting USA, Inc. (both part of the Deutsche Bahn group)

High Speed Two Ltd.

Transport for Greater Manchester

Port of Felixtowe

Work highlights

  • Advised the Department for Transport through its Directly Operated Railways entities on the acquisition of 40 class 365 units.
  • Advised West Midlands Combined Authority on its procurement of a few tram fleet of 21 trams with a further option for 29 trams to meet the anticipated tripling in size of the West Midlands Metro tram network over the next decade.
  • Advised on the re-letting of the concession agreement for Dubai Metro and Tram.

Linklaters LLP

Linklaters LLP provides a broad scope of legal services for rail sector clients, primarily dealing in construction, franchising and rolling stock, as well as station real estate. The firm frequently assists rails sponsors and lenders, and is one of a line-up of firms on the UK Government's rail panel. Practice co-chair Fiona Hobbs recently led the team advising on the £2bn rescue financing package for Crossrail, while during 2019 fellow co-chair Charlotte Morgan advised the Department for Transport on the Intercity Express Programme rolling stock procurement. Infrastructure specialist Stuart Rowson specialises in innovative financing solutions.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Hobbs; Charlotte Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Rowson

Key clients

Mizuho Bank Limited

Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa

Japan Bank for International Cooperation

Nippon Export and Investment Insurance

RBC Europe Limited

HS1 Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised on the rescue financing packaging for Crossrail – critical in order to ensure the delivery of a nationally important piece of transportation infrastructure.
  • Advised the HS1 group for many years on mandates ranging from those relating to the Concession Agreement and commercial contracts, acquisitions and disposals, regulatory matters and corporate and finance matters.
  • Advised on a number of significant ongoing matters in connection with a $2.73bn project financing of the $4bn construction/refurbishment and operation of a 912km railway line through Mozambique and Malawi.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is 'well-versed in all the various aspects of the rail industry', providing the full spectrum of advice for both domestic and international clients in the sector. The London team, which draws on support from the wider firm's vast network of international lawyers, is known for advising on matters including rolling stock procurement, construction and finance, for both high speed and light rail. The team also has strong credentials on contentious matters, and is a member of the Crown Commercial Service's rail panel. Practice leader Tom Johnson specialises in rail financing transactions, while Simon Gwynne is known for his work on rolling stock and depot transactions. Susanna Rogers advises on competition and regulatory matters, and of counsel Louise Auty focuses on asset finance, including rail procurement and leasing, franchising and cross-border financing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Tom Johnson

Testimonials

It is so refreshing to find a team that is well-versed in all the various aspects of the industry, rather than saying “I don’t know anything about that – you should talk to x.” This means that a client gets an opinion that is based on all aspects of the business, rather than through the myopia of a subject specialist. Best of all, documentation is turned around very quickly.

Tom Johnson stands fulgent above an already exceptional team.

Norton Rose has a longstanding knowledge of the rail sector, dating back to privatisation of the industry. It is clear that the rail team keeps itself abreast of all current issues in the rail sector, which is beneficial to rail clients.’

Tom Johnson and Louise Auty have an in-depth knowledge of the rail sector, as do the firm’s competition law and dispute resolution teams. The synergies between these teams mean that all aspects of a transaction can be considered effectively.’

Key clients

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

The City of Ottawa

Crown Commercial Services Rail Panel

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (panel)

The Department for Transport (DfT)

DVB Bank SE and DZ Bank AG

Eversholt Rail

The Go-Ahead Group Plc

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

Lloyds Banking Group plc

Metrolinx (Greater Toronto Transportation Authority)

Stadler Rail

Thales Ground Transportation Systems UK Limited

SMBC Leasing (UK)

Equitix

Work highlights

  • Advised DVB Bank SE (DVB) and DZ Bank AG (DZ Bank) on the sale and transfer of DVB’s Land Transportation business including its rail business to Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale (Helaba).
  • Acted for the City of Ottawa on the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project.
  • Advised the joint venture on the Euston Station project.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood works primarily in three distinct areas: franchising, rolling stock, and infrastructure. The team advises financiers, manufacturers, operators, and procurers in the rolling stock market, both in the UK and internationally. The team also supports clients involved in major disputes, as well as franchise bidding, acting for Abellio on the mobilisation of its new East Midlands rail franchise for the Department of Transport. Practice leader and global head of finance Tammy Samuel has more than 25 years of experience in the industry and a track record of work on rolling stock procurement, heavy and light rail, under and overground and rail franchising. Suzanne Tarplee also offers significant experience, with client secondments including serving as HS2 general counsel, while Darren Fodey also brings specific expertise from key secondments, having advised on the establishment of regulatory regimes for Crossrail and High Speed 1. Lisa Marks and associate Kulraj Badhesha have taken the lead on the rail finance following Graeme McLellan's departure for Greenberg Traurig, LLP during 2019.

Practice head(s):

Tammy Samuel

Testimonials

They don’t have an A and B team – you just get the A team. Plus they work as a team – they support you, but also each other.

Tammy Samuel is a real ‘tour de force’ – she is a true leader – she creates an environment of trust and openness with all stakeholders. Working with Tammy you get not only great knowledge and understanding of the rail sector but also passion to move/improve the sector on, whether its promoting diversity or just driving better ways of procuring.’

The team has a broad but deep understanding of the rail market. Experience in leasing, manufacture and maintenance of rolling stock. The team members understand how our company operates. The team over the years have become more of a team member than the legal contract hire.’

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)

Arriva plc

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

Lombard North Central

Transport for London

London Underground Limited

Trenitalia UK Limited (and Trenitalia c2c)

Clemtech

Centrus / Corelink

Arriva East Midlands Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised CAF in relation to the contracts for the sale of rolling stock to various train operators and public sector bodie. The deal is valued at over £3.5bn of contracts.
  • Advised and acted for Arriva East Midlands Limited on its challenge in the Technology and Construction division of the High Court of that decision on the basis that the defendant’s conduct of the procurement and evaluation of bids breached its duties of transparency, equal treatment and proportionality.
  • Working with Transport for London on many aspects of the £15bn Crossrail project.

Addleshaw Goddard

The practice at Addleshaw Goddard has expertise in franchising, rolling stock, projects and infrastructure, covering both light and heavy rail, and is supported by a wider team with strengths across all other areas of transport. In 2019 the firm advised London Luton Airport on the £250m development of a mass passenger transit system, while recent panel successes have included appointments for the Department for Transport, Transport for London and Network Rail. Practice co-head Paul Hirst specialises in transport infrastructure projects and rolling stock procurement, while new co-head Anna Heaton focuses on transport regeneration projects and co-investment strategies. 'Stand-out star' Clive Smith advises on rolling stock, leasing, maintenance and modification of fleets for both lessor and operator clients.

Practice head(s):

Paul Hirst; Anna Heaton

Testimonials

Clive Smith is the stand-out star for this area. He has an in-depth knowledge of the rail sector that ensures his advice is always current and client focused.’

Clive Smith’s ability to manage and draft for complex transactions, making them appear effortless (when I know they are not) makes him an invaluable resource in any high-pressure deal.’

Key clients

London Luton Airport Ltd.

Department for Transport (DfT)

SMBC Leasing

Equitix

Eversholt Rail

Freightliner Heavy Haul Limited

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

West Midlands Combined Authority

Hitachi Rail Limited

Transport for London

Keolis UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the Department for Transport on a multi-year mandate on the new rail franchise which will combine the current InterCity West Coast services with the development and introduction of High Speed 2 services.
  • Advising the Department for Transport on four separate claims against the Secretary of State/Department for Transport in the TCC.
  • Advised West Midlands Combined Authority on The West Midlands Rail Programme, which involves the rebuild of two existing train stations at University and Perry Barr.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP provides advice on complex, cross-border, and high-value rail transactions, with a breadth of expertise extending to infrastructure, concessions, and rolling stock matters. It frequently acts for project sponsors, lessors, financiers, and train operating companies, as well as governments, and manufacturers. Department head Jonathan Bevan is an expert in infrastructure and transport financings, as well as matters relating to development, construction, PPPs, and construction, while partner Tim Conduit focuses on capital market financings.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Bevan

Testimonials

Jonathan Bevan and Tim Conduit are both extremely knowledgeable about all rail matters and financing structures. They are always there to support us when we need them.’

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is known for its particular expertise in advising developers and investors in highly complex deals involving rolling stock financing and leasing. Recent work highlights have included advising Transport for London on its Build to Rent investment joint venture with Grainger, as well as other multibillion-pound projects. Practice leader Russell Clifford 'can be relied upon' for his advice regarding structured asset finance for domestic and cross-border markets. Jason Chamberlain is the 'go-to person' for matters such as rolling stock procurement for the Thameslink Programme and Crossrail, as well as rail regulatory and statutory requirements.

Practice head(s):

Russell Clifford

Testimonials

The rail team at BCLP is exceptional at covering all of our legal needs, from commercial and finance to contentious matters across different jurisdictions. They are the people we contact when we have an urgent question, as they know our business inside out and are always available even at a very short notice.

Jason Chamberlain  is our go-to person when we have a complex issue to tackle which often involves our technical team, because he can turn any legal issue, no matter how complicated, into a simple diagram that anyone in the business can easily understand and follow.’

The BCLP rail team is for me, the best in the market. Its knowledge of the operating lease market for rail is second to none. Furthermore, the team has a great understanding of our business which makes our partnership with BCLP invaluable.’

Russell Clifford has great industry and sector experience and that coupled with his understanding of our business, means that he provides us sound commercial advice.’

BCLP provides industry-leading expert advice in the field of operational leasing and rolling stock asset finance. The team has considerable experience as well as depth leading to detailed risk analysis and expedient turn around of documents.’

Russell Clifford is a stand-out member of the BCLP team and can be relied upon to provide expert opinion across a range of asset finance issues in extremely quick timescales. In complex and high value face-to-face negotiations, their expert professionalism is industry-leading.’

Key clients

Angel Trains Limited

Beacon Rail Leasing Limited

Transport for London

Greater London Authority and Barking Riverside Limited

Landsec

Lendlease

Work highlights

  • Advised on the re-leasing to Avanti West Coast of the Pendolino fleet operated on the West Coast franchise.
  • Advising on the multibillion-pound redevelopment around Euston station.
  • Advised on the procurement and leasing of a fleet of Hitachi AT300 Units for operation by East Coast Trains.

CMS

CMS advises a wide range of clients in the rail sector - including rail operators, contractors and developers, investors and public sector rail providers - on matters such as on large infrastructure projects, disputes, franchising, and rail issues relating to Brexit. The practice has broadened its scope in recent years, from focusing primarily on rolling stock and infrastructure to include cross-border transaction advisory work; for example, advising on the New Causeway Project PPP. The team has particular expertise in light rail both in UK and Canada, as well as international rail PPPs and rolling stock procurement and funding. In 2019, it advised on the Bakerloo Line Extension and on the Cross City Connect, Crossrail, and Thameslink projects, as well as rail and highway interface agreements. Practice co-head Bill Carr focuses on rolling stock procurement and maintenance, while co-head Eleanor Lane has in recent years advised the Scottish Government on key Scottish heavy rail projects. Co-head David Moore is a specialist transport lawyer, with a focus on rail franchising, rolling stock procurement, and industry arrangements. Gwen Edwards joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP; she has a broad asset finance background, including in rolling stock.

Practice head(s):

Bill Carr; Eleanor Lane; David Moore

Other key lawyers:

Gwen Edwards

Testimonials

‘CMS’ rail team stands out for its industry knowledge and commercial acumen. This, allied with CMS’ banking and finance capability, provides a compelling offering.’

‘Bill Carr has wide industry knowledge, has a practical and pragmatic approach and provides confidence.’

Key clients

Tramlink Nottingham

Eurostar International Limited

Transport Scotland/Scottish Government

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport

Edinburgh Trams

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

Work highlights

  • Advised the senior debt funder group to the Rock Rail/JII consortium on all aspects (including finance and commercial documents) of the funding for the purchase of 165 new build vehicles to be manufactured by Hitachi – comprising 33 five-car bi-mode trains, that will enter service from 2022.
  • Appointed as external legal advisors for the Mace Limited and Dragados SA JV, which was appointed as the main contractor in relation to the design, procurement, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the proposed HS2 high speed rail line from London to the West Midlands.
  • Working with KPMG and AECOM advising the King Fahd Causeway Authority on the development and letting of a PPP project to create a new rail link between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper provides 'knowledgeable guidance' to both public and private sector clients on complex rail industry regulations, providing full support on franchising, rolling stock leasing, health and safety, and rail-specific corporate compliance. In 2019, the team notably advised High Speed Two Ltd in relation to the delivery of the HS2 rail project, and is one of four firms in tier 1 of the Department for Transport's rail panel. Practice co-head Robert Smith is known for his 'expert advice' and recently led the successful procurement of a new fleet of trains for the Metro system in North East England, while practice co-head Colin Wilson works on financings and transactions, in particular PPPs, cross-border joint ventures, and outsourcings.

Practice head(s):

Robert Smith; Colin Wilson

Testimonials

DLA Piper has given us invaluable guidance and advice on all phases of our programme. The personable and professional ways of working helped to encourage focused dialogue on many major issues and solutions. Guidance is given, rather than instruction, and access to key expertise was made available readily and accurately.

‘DLA encompasses an environment of openness, therefore no query or question is deemed to be irrelevant. The team’s key strength is the quality of deliverables, knowledgeable guidance, and the personable collaborative working methodology. All of these I would suggest are key identifiers that place DLA apart from many other firms.

Due to many complications and issues associated with the procurement, we spent four weeks working closely with DLA to access risk and mitigations to our ongoing issues. During this time Robert Smith gave expert advice and knowledge to the working group, often having to challenge senior leadership thoughts and directions to gain the most effective solutions. Robert’s level of industry knowledge was second to none and his advice was invaluable and also delivered with the assurance that was required. Robert always managed to communicate in a clear, concise and, at times, humorous way.

‘I have enjoyed working with DLA and compared to other law firms I have worked with, I can genuinely say the working ethic and the people have far outreached any other.’

Key clients

High Speed Two Limited

UK Department for Transport (DfT)

Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive

Department for Transport

Hitachi Rail Limited

Transport for the North

Agility Trains

East West Railway Company Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising High Speed 2 Limited on the property and planning elements of the proposed new railway.
  • Advising Nexus on the purchase of a new train fleet and long term maintenance arrangements.
  • Advising Hitachi on the sale of a bi-mode train fleet and associated maintenance arrangements for use by Abellio on the East Midland rail franchise.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has significant experience of large-scale UK-based rail and international projects, frequently advising project sponsors, rolling stock leasing companies, and developers in metro, light rail, high speed rail, and conventional rail. The team regularly advises on investment in operator and infrastructure owners, funding rail projects, and station developments. Additionally, the team has extensive rail franchising experience, as well as providing rail-related real estate development health and safety advice. Global head of infrastructure Patrick Mitchell has experience in project development and transactions. Of counsel John Williams advises on rail development, rolling stock procurement and maintenance, and franchise issues, while Tim Briggs focuses on regulatory matters. Consultant Adrian Clough specialises in infrastructure and PPPs.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Mitchell

K&L Gates LLP

The 'impressive' team at K&L Gates LLP has a long track record of advising owners on significant rail authority projects with high capital and operating expenditure values. The practice's principal expertise relates to light rail metro and mass transit. Additionally, it has experience in rolling stock, complex systems contracts, complex signalling procurements, and providing expert advice on both brownfield and greenfield matters. The team has established relationships with long-term UK clients like Transport for London, Tube Lines, Rail for London, and Crossrail, as well as international clients like Hitachi Rail. Practice leader Matthew Smith advises on infrastructure and is an expert in a broad range of disputes, covering arbitration and adjudications. Nicola Ellis was promoted to partner in 2019.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Smith

Testimonials

The dedication the team has in ensuring their client is well taken care of as their resources extends all around the globe. For example, we were pressed for time to get a draft agreement finalised and formatted. The solicitors were able to source their admin and clerical workers around the globe to ensure we get back our documents in a matter of just a few hours! Impressive.’

They have knowledge and vast experience, and because of their experience around the world, have given us many insights on other rail projects and how they are being done.’

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 Corpâ€)

Tube Lines Limited

Rail for London Limited

Work highlights

  • Continued to advise Hitachi on the drafting, negotiation, and agreement of multiple depot works contract across the UK.
  • Advised MRT Corp on the construction of a second line for the Klang Valley MRT project, known as the SSP Line or Line 2, in Malaysia valued at approximately £2.54bn.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP is active in areas such as rolling stock, franchising, planning and authorisation, and infrastructure and projects for bluechip companies. The team has particular specialisms in rail sector pensions and procurement and is known for its work in rail franchising and concessions. In 2019, it advised Siemens Mobility on the contract award by London Underground to deliver £1.5bn worth of new trains. Practice leader Lara Burch advises manufacturers, train operators, ROSCOs, and has a track record of work in rail franchising, rail regulatory matters, and rolling stock matters. Associate director Jeremy Godley specialises in franchise and concessions bids, fleet procurements, maintenance, and leasing, while the 'proactiveEd Barratt is a specialist in rail franchising, public transport regulation, and asset finance and leasing.

Practice head(s):

Lara Burch

Testimonials

Osborne Clarke has been a great addition to our panel, providing extra and knowledgeable resource when needed. Lara Burch and her team offer clear and easy to follow advice.’

Osborne Clarke’s rail team, headed by Lara Burch, is faultlessly helpful on any and all matters, big or small. Lara makes a concerted effort to understand and respond to the needs of our business at all times. Her knowledge of the rail sector is second to noneEd Barratt is always helpful, approachable, and proactive.’

Consistently strong performance from the team over several years. The team has never let us down, even on very urgent requests for support. The advice covers both the legal aspects, but also practical advice about how to apply the advice, which is often lacking from other law firms.’

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

Siemens

Hack Partners Limited

Riccardo Rail

Knorr Bremse Rail

Cross London Trains

Beacon Rail Leasing

Work highlights

  • Acted for Siemens Mobility Limited in a challenge to its successful bid to provide £1.5bn-plus worth of new trains for the London Undergound’s Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Central lines.
  • Advised Gazeley on the Development Consent Order and Compulsory Acquisition of land for Rail Central, a joint venture with Ashfield Land, to develop a proposed new 7 million square foot Strategic Rail Freight Interchange in Northamptonshire at a cost of £700m.
  • Continued to advise the Department for Transport on multiple high-profile matters.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Winckworth Sherwood LLP fields a 'close-knit team', with many years of experience of the planning, promotion and authorisation of rail projects, covering all relevant issues ranging from advising on compulsory purchase and compensation to environmental impact assessments. In 2019, the team advised on legislation regarding HS2, as well as on a number of rail and light rail projects for Network Rail, Crossrail and the West Midlands Combined Authority. Practice head Paul Irving is 'a consummate leader', known for his work advising and drafting rail legislation. Hazel Anderson has 'formidable analytical and advisory skills', focusing primarily on environmental matters and infrastructure planning work, while Alex Dillistone is a public law, planning, and environmental specialist. In April 2020, Jane Wakeham was promoted to partner; she specialises on the authorisation of tram schemes and heritage railways.

Practice head(s):

Paul Irving

Testimonials

A close-knit team with huge experience and deep technical knowledge and skill in this sector. Proven and prolonged record of successful delivery of major rail schemes both via parliamentary process and statutory processes.’

Paul Irving, a consummate leader in this field, combines intellectual heft with procedural and commercial nous that is second to none. Extraordinarily sound judgement.’

‘Hazel Anderson is an environmental specialist with formidable analytical and advisory skills.’

Key clients

Secretary of State for Transport

Crossrail Ltd.

Department for Transport

West Midlands Combined Authority (formerly Centro)

Network Rail

Work highlights

  • Advised the Department  of Transport 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.
  • Acted for Crossrail Ltd a company fully-owned by Transport for London, advising on the Crossrail project.
  • Advised the West Midlands Combined Authority on the promotion of three orders, two of which confer further powers of compulsory acquisition on the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive for works authorised by Orders obtained in 2005.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The 'open, honest, inclusive' team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has strengths in rolling stock, rail projects, and infrastructure, enjoying longstanding relationships with train operators and manufacturers. It also has experience in planning and authorisation. Transport head David Rewcastle leads on rail franchise bids, infrastructure projects, and rolling stock procurements, and in 2019 lead the team in advising Govia Thameslink Railway on a number of notable franchising matters. Paul Coleman has a 'razor-sharp brain' and focuses on procuring new rolling stock and depot franchising matters. Rachel Scott handles licence compliance, asset protection and traction electricity agreements, while Kevin Bell is described as an 'exemplary legal adviser.'

Practice head(s):

David Rewcastle

Testimonials

The Womble Bond Dickinson team is very much integrated and aligned to my team, listening and contributing to the complex commercial and legal challenges faced in bidding for new contracts. Their approach is open, honest, inclusive, and highly effective in dealing with legal issues and contributing to the wider leadership/strategic challenges.

Kevin Bell is an exemplary legal adviser, highly committed, an effective communicator, and outstanding legal adviser. I value Kevin’s commitment, openness, and collaborative approach to delivering the right outcomes for the business. He is my go-to partner and became my trusted legal adviser in a number of major transactions – as well as providing invaluable strategic input and advice to the business.’

David Rewcastle has excellent availability, provides balanced advice, and clearly expresses views, understands commercial dynamics.’

‘The firm has been able to provide thoughtful and pragmatic solutions to complex matters, efficiently and promptly. Their knowledge of our business, and the quality of the legal knowledge, means that they offer a City service without corresponding cost and pompousness.’

David Rewcastle leads an excellent team (in conjunction with Paul Coleman on the leasing side). Both David and Paul are key and are excellent in terms of their knowledge and their understanding of the business needs. As the team develops, the ability to react to our needs grows with confidence.’

David Rewcastle is commercial, knowledgeable, versatile, and friendly.

Paul Coleman is a leader in rolling stock and depot agreements. He is commercial, knowledgeable, with a razor-sharp brain, and keeps things simple.

Kevin Bell is experienced in passenger franchise agreements, thorough, and friendly.

Key clients

Go-Ahead Group plc/Govia

Network Rail

Abellio

Govia Thameslink Railway

Southeastern

Arriva

Bombardier

Transdev

SNCF

Stadler

Work highlights

  • Supported Govia on all aspects of the cancelled South Eastern franchise bid, including various re-bids and associated submissions, new build rolling stock procurement, and Govia’s involvement as an interested party in ongoing litigation relating to the cancellation of the South Eastern franchise competition.
  • Advised on and negotiated contracts on behalf of Southeastern for the extension to the franchise as well as advised on rolling stock elements of the recent extensions to the franchise agreement.
  • Advised Transdev in relation to its successful bid to operate and maintain the Laus light rain system in Dublin.

Gowling WLG

The 'friendly and hands-on' team at Gowling WLG has expertise in all core legal areas related to rail, including the intersection of rail and other forms of transport, infrastructure, technology, governance, construction, real estate, and engineering. The team specialises in new station development, as well as advising on station upgrades across the UK, particularly in over station and over track development in London. Its clients include rail freight operators and users, including manufacturing, supply, and procurement, as well as rail freight distribution centres. Group head Giles Clifford is 'calm and precise', and specialises in infrastructure protection and over station development, as well as Network Rail interfaces.

Practice head(s):

Giles Clifford

Testimonials

Friendly and hands-on and always willing to explain matters in an easy to understand manner. Very good commercial knowledge and expertise in dealing with transport and infrastructure related negotiations. Willing to provide clear advice rather than just present options.’

Giles Clifford has always had the ability to see both sides, which means his advice seldom leads to protracted disputes. He is also able to recall from memory key aspects of an agreement and hence easily flag clauses to be reviewed when an issue arises or a question is asked. He is calm and precise which makes him invaluable in meetings.’

Key clients

Transport for London

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 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 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

The Hogan Lovells International LLP team advises on a range of both UK and international rail projects, drawing on strong links with the wider firm's rail specialists around the world, including a regulatory and rail team in US. Practice leader Charles Ford has a strong track record of work on major projects and acquisitions, and in 2019 played a lead role in the firm's team advising Akiem on the cross-border acquisition of Macquarie's European rolling stock business, as well as advising on Rail Baltica, a multibillion-euro high speed rail project through the Baltic states. Andrew Gallagher specialises in both finance and refinancing, including work on Tube Lines refinancing and the Dublin Light Metro Rail PPP.

Practice head(s):

Charles Ford

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Gallagher

Key clients

Akiem

Alstom

Rail Baltica

Cross London Trains (consortium consisting of Innisfree, 3i (now Equitix), and Siemens)

Macquarie

European Investment Bank (EIB)

Work highlights

  • Appointed to advise on the multibillion-euro High Speed Rail Baltica project, the largest Baltic-region infrastructure project in the last 100 years.
  • Advising Akiem on the acquisition of Macquarie’s pan-Europeanrolling stock business.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP handles a broad spectrum of rail-related work, advising on projects covering planning, design, and procurement. In 2019, the team was appointed to Serco's panel in relation to the Docklands Light Railway, while practice leader Jonathan Hart was recently appointed to advise on the Dublin Metrolink. Additionally, Robbie Owen, known for his 'good strategic thinking', is a key adviser on the Cambridge Autonomous Metro, while Anne-Marie Friel works on HS2. In 2020, the team brought on Totis Kotsonis from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP - he has continued his procurement work for Transport for London.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hart

Testimonials

They bring very detailed knowledge of the UK rail industry across both public and private sectors. Their understanding of the planning system as it applies to rail is excellent.

The team has strength in depth – the partners and associates have extensive experience in this field of practice.’

Robbie Owen has a very detailed knowledge of procedure combined with good strategic thinking.’

Key clients

West Midlands Combined Authority

Port of TIlbury London Ltd.

Dublin Metro

Kier Infrastructure

Transport for London

Northumberland County Council

Overseas Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Heathrow Airport Ltd. and Heathrow Express Operating Company on matters relevant to rail access to Heathrow Airport.
  • Selected as counsel to Transport Infrastructure Ireland on a ten-year appointment in relation to the Dublin Metrolink project.
  • Advised Transport for London on the planning and property aspects of the Sutton Link, a new, high-capacity public transport link between Sutton town centre and Merton.

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans advises local authorities, government agencies, network owners, train or freight operators, and heritage railways on planning and authorisation of large-scale infrastructure projects in both heavy and light rail. The team also handles employment law and industrial relations for network operators. Practice leader Mark Challis is known for his work in planning law, including on matters such as compulsory purchase issues and environmental law.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis

Fieldfisher

Fieldfisher advises rail operators and regulatory bodies on matters such as franchising, rolling stock procurement, and leasing. The team also is experienced in trade union and industrial relations, rail disputes, public procurement, outsourcing, state aid, employment and pensions.

Practice head(s):

John Worthy

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP significantly boosted its visibility in the rail sector with the hire of well respected practice leader Graeme McLellan and senior associate Richard Hughes from Stephenson Harwood in 2019. The US firm's London team primarily focuses on rail infrastructure and asset finance, but has more recently expanded into advising on rolling stock, as evidenced in 2019 in a 'first of its kind' finance deal in Wales for Equitix. The team, which also boasts debt capital finance markets expertise, has a track record of advising on complex cross-border transactions, leveraging the wider firm's global network of offices.

Practice head(s):

Graeme McLellan

Other key lawyers:

Richard Hughes

Key clients

Equitix Limited

Macquarie Bank / Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA)

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)

US, Swiss and Canadian institutional investors – Porterbrook Samurai Loan and Private Placement

Work highlights

  • Represented various institutional investors in a landmark private placement refinancing of £250m senior secured notes issued by Porterbrook.
  • Advised Macquarie on all matters in relation to the sale of three European passenger and freight rolling stock portfolios operating across Europe.
  • Represented Equitix Limited in relation to the on-going financing of the development of the Norwich Crown Point Light Maintenance Depot (NCP) and the financing of a new overnight stabling facility at Norwich Victoria Sidings (NVS) for the fleet of trains being maintained at NCP.

Kennedys

Kennedys primarily focuses on health and safety and regulatory work in the rail sector. The team has also been involved in public inquiries and prosecutions for rail accidents and incidents. Additionally, the team has experience in employment law, including handling industrial action and litigation. In 2019, the team acted for two major rail operators in complex litigation matters, providing trade union and industrial action advice. The insurance and personal injury team has also expanded its rail practice, with work in defendant personal injury, extending to CAHA procedures, workplace accidents, defective equipment, and occupational disease. Practice leader Richard Crockford is a key health and safety regulatory defence lawyer.

Practice head(s):

Richard Crockford

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Leake; Fiona Morgan; Susan Cha

Testimonials

I have been working with Kennedys for about a couple of years. The team is very knowledgeable and always ready to support us with our matters.’

I have worked with several people within Kennedys. Overall, we are very happy to work with Kennedys – we definitely recommend their services.’

Key clients

South Western Railway

Great Western Railway

Virgin Trains East Coast

Virgin Trains West Coast

East Midlands Railway

Freightliner

Renown Railway Services

Bombardier

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons advises governments, contractors, and sponsors on complex infrastructure projects and rail PPPs, M&A, and track access arrangements. The team is also known for its work on health and safety, public financing, project and rail financing, and track access agreements. PPP/infrastructure lawyer Juliet Reingold leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Juliet Reingold

Other key lawyers:

Richard Dyton

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Watson Farley & Williams LLP primarily focuses on cross-border deals for a range of international rail clients, including financing and refinancing on matters such as rolling stock, while also drawing on members of the firm's corporate, disputes, regulatory and employment teams to provide a more rounded service to clients. In 2019, the team took roles on two significant rail financing deals: advising Ermewa Holding on its €1.5bn debt raise and Alpha Trains on its €700m debt raise. Practice leader Louise Mor has experience in Islamic financing, asset acquisitions and sales.

Practice head(s):

Louise Mor

Key clients

Ermewa Holding

Alpha Trains

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP is known for its work on international rail and infrastructure projects, with particular expertise in construction law. The team, which advises states, lenders, developers, and contractors, has strong credentials on disputes, projects and financing. EMEA energy, infrastructure, project and asset finance head Caroline Miller Smith is the name to note.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Miller Smith