Stephenson Harwood LLP advised Great Britain’s largest train operator Northern Rail and its joint venture owners, on the negotiation and signing of its 22 month single tender award franchise agreement (where a contract is awarded to a single provider) with the Department for Transport . The new franchise agreement is effective from today, with services under the new agreement commencing on 1 April. The firm is also appointed to advise Northern Rail and its joint venture partners on its bid to run the next Northern franchise, which is expected to commence bidding shortly. At the end of last year, Stephenson Harwood became Northern Rail's main legal advisers on all of its rail, regulatory, franchising, commercial, corporate, real estate and dispute resolution matters (mandates taken over from previous incumbents Dentons and Bond Dickinson).
Northern Rail Ltd is a Joint Venture owned equally by Serco Group plc and Abellio (the international operating business of Netherlands Railways). It was formed in 2004 when the joint venture parties were selected by the government to operate railway services in the North of England and provides nearly 2,500 local and regional train services every weekday, calling at around 500 stations (20 per cent of the railway stations in Great Britain).
Commenting on the signing of the direct award franchise agreement, Tammy Samuel, Northern Rail Relationship Partner at Stephenson Harwood LLP said: "We are delighted that Northern Rail has signed its new franchise agreement and appointed us to advise on its key franchising projects as well as its day to day operational matters. This is an exciting time for railways. The single tender award is one of the first of these contracts to be negotiated following the cancellation of the West Coast franchise competition and subsequent re-profiling of other railway franchising competitions. This and the rebid will come at the start of an expected intensive 8-10 year programme of government refranchising."
Barry Graham, who was closely involved in the negotiations of the direct award for Northern Rail confirmed: “Stephenson Harwood stand out for their knowledge of the railways industry and, importantly, their enthusiasm for working in partnership with us and commitment to offering Northern Rail the best customer service”.
Tammy Samuel joined Stephenson Harwood in 2013, moving from Dentons, where she had advised Northern Rail since 2004.
The rail practice at Stephenson Harwood has expertise in heavy and light rail, including franchising/concessions, infrastructure projects, rolling stock procurement, leasing and financing. Its services cover commercial, corporate, finance and regulatory advice for operators, manufacturers, financial institutions, contractors and government bodies. The fee-earners working for Northern Rail include rail partners Tammy Samuel and Suzanne Tarplee, Head of Rail Graeme McLellan, real estate partner Chris Seel, lead associate Darren Fodey and rail associates Mette Rolle and Farah Al-Hassani.