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Rail in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

The 'pragmatic and responsiveBurges Salmon LLP has a ‘good industry specialism' and is active in franchising matters, procurement exercises, projects and infrastructure work. The firm also provides expertise in health and safety, as well as regulatory issues related to the rail sector. The team has 'many years of experience in the UK rail and bus matters' and is co-led by Chris Jackson, Brioney Thomas, Simon Coppen, Ann Metherall and Philip Beer. Ed Barratt left for Osborne Clarke in January 2019.


‘Rupert Lugg was a key adviser and had a great ability to understand complex problems and to seek pragmatic solutions’

‘Chris Jackson provides close attention to detail that ensures no stone goes unturned’

‘Chris Simms has wide UK railway industry knowledge and experience’

‘Their work has been exceptional at both partner and associate level.  The team has superb technical knowledge, is led by partners with excellent strategic nous and has associates who have encyclopaedic knowledge of the law relating to the rail industry and are completely on top of the details of the cases’

‘Standout partners in rail are Chris Jackson, Ian Tucker, Brioney Thomas and Simon Coppen’

‘Standout associates are Lloyd Nail and Andrew Walls’

‘Chris Jackson combines savvy strategic nous with excellent technical knowledge’

‘Lloyd Nail’s attention to detail is astounding’

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


London Underground

Work highlights

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

Osborne Clarke LLP

The ‘responsive, friendly and approachableOsborne Clarke advises on rolling stock, franchising, infrastructure and projects, as well as planning and authorisation matters. The firm also provides expertise in asset finance issues. Lara Burch leads the team and has experience acting for clients across the rail industry, including train operators, rolling stock companies and manufacturers. Also notable are rail and rolling stock specialist Ed Barratt, who joined from Burges Salmon LLP in January 2019, and associate director Craig McCarthy, who specialises in commercial and regulatory litigation, focusing on advising suppliers, utilities and public authorities.

Practice head(s):

Lara Burch

Other key lawyers:

Ed Barratt; Catherine Wolfenden


‘Partners share a keen industry acumen and an appreciation of the nuts and bolts of operational and logistical constraints in the sector’

‘The team goes the extra mile to make you feel valued as a client’

‘Ed Barratt is hands-on and supportive, with a thorough grasp of the detail. He has a very pleasant negotiating style and strikes a good balance between steeliness and charm’

‘The team have been involved in some of the major cases in this area and have fantastic experience’

‘They provide practical and commercially focused advice, together with an insight into how the court may approach particular topics’

‘Catherine Wolfenden is friendly and approachable, very responsive, and able to present difficult legal topics to non-lawyers in a practical and commercially focused way. She also has a great relationship with counsel, which can aid with ensuring availability for key hearings’

Key clients

Transport for London


Eversholt Rail Group

Rail Delivery Group

Eurostar International

Department for Transport

Office of Rail and Road


Hack Partners Limited

Riccardo Rail

Knorr Bremse Rail

Cross London Trains

Beacon Rail Leasing

Work highlights

  • Advising Siemens Mobility Limited on the contract award by London Underground Limited to deliver £1.5bn-plus of new trains for the Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Central lines.
  • Advising Gazeley on the development consent order and compulsory acquisition of land for a proposed new 7 million sq ft Strategic Rail Freight Interchange in Northamptonshire at a cost of £700 million.
  • Supporting the Department for Transport in its defence of a £1.5bn action arising out of challenges to the award of three major rail franchise contracts.