Rail in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP's team covers all aspects of rail-related work, including health and safety, franchising and infrastructure matters. Its experience includes the devolution of rail franchising powers, consumer protection and third party retailing arrangements and tunnel access. The firm's client base includes many of the leading operators in the country, and also public bodies and international operators. Brioney Thomas, who is the head of the rail division, has a particular interest in regulatory and commercial issues.

Practice head(s):

Brioney Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Chris Simms

Key clients

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

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

Welsh Government / Transport for Wales

Northern Ireland Railways Company (trading as Translink)

Eurostar International Limited (trading as Eurostar)

Rail Delivery Group

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

Work highlights

  • Acted for Abellio East Anglia Limited on securing private investment in the Norwich Crown Point Depot to fund upgrade works for new rolling stock.
  • Advising GWR on a dispute concerning the £146 million refurbishment of the sleeper trains for services from Paddington-Penzance
  • Continue to advise Abellio Group, including Abellio East Anglia, on operational property matters.
  • Advised First Trenitalia West Coast Trains Limited on its bid for the West Coast Partnership
  • Advising Transport for Wales on its procurement of the next Wales and Border Rail Service and Metro on behalf of the Welsh Government.

Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke advises both national and multinational clients on purchases and procurement, innovative developments, planning law for infrastructure development, regulatory changes and working arrangements. The team regularly advises international clients on cross-border rail issues, and is involved in design work at the forefront of rail sector technology. Practice head Lara Burch is experienced in franchising, infrastructure and rolling stock work. Recent hire Edward Barratt joined from Burges Salmon LLP.

Practice head(s):

Lara Burch

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Wolfenden


A growing team with much potential

Responsive, professional, friendly

Very knowledgeable, clearly up to speed in latest regulations and legislation relevant to the rail industry

What I like about Osborne Clarke is that they really know our business and understand the drivers of our management. They are therefore able to give practical suggestions how to approach particular legal topics in a way best suited to our business. They put forward teams at the right level and I have never experienced over-manning on projects where I have instructed them

At Osborne Clarke there is highly effective leadership of the rail team with whom we have worked for a number of years

They have the ability to challenge, debate, discuss, advise but then accept our decision and work diligently. It is the most effective form of partnership I have encountered in legal support

They have a desire  to match personality and competence in their team to the client, and willingness to change where the fit has not been quite right

Their approach is highly professional and client focused

Jeremy Godley is ready to answer any question, and provides clear advise

Catherine Wolfenden is very responsive and understands that advice may be needed urgently at times. If she is out of the office, she always suggests someone who can support in her absence. Her advice is always practical and sensible

We continue to feel that the skill with which Partner Lara Burch leads the rail team is worthy of mention. She is an exceptional Partner with a level of commitment to the sector and clients, and passion for building appropriate relationships which is second to none

Key clients

Transport for London

Arriva (and its affiliated train operating companies)

Eversholt Rail Group

Rail Delivery Group

Eurostar International

Department for Transport

Office of Rail and Road


Hack Partners Limited

Riccardo Rail

Knorr Bremse Rail

Cross London Trains

Work highlights

  • Representing Siemens Mobility Limited in procurement challenge by competitors over award of contract for £1.5bn-plus worth of new trains for the Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Central lines.
  • Acted for Eversholt Rail Group on its collaboration with Alstom for the development of a new hydrogen powered train.
  • Advised Gazeley on the development of a proposed new seven million sq ft Strategic Rail Freight Interchange in Northamptonshire at a cost of £700m.
  • Advised Rail Delivery Group on the design and implementation of fares and ticketing simplifications, initially on a trial basis.
  • Osborne Clarke is Eurostar’s sole adviser for all IP matters and also advises on a broad spread of day-to-day legal issues.