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21 Aug 2019

Stephenson Harwood advises Abellio on £3.3 billion franchise


Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised long-standing client Abellio on the mobilisation of its new East Midlands franchise for the Department for Transport (DfT), which is expected to have an annual turnover of more than £420 million per year over at least 8 years.

The ‘East Midlands Railway’, launched earlier this month, operates services from London to Sheffield and across the East Midlands. The win of this franchise makes Abellio, a Dutch transport group, the largest train operator in the UK.

“A DfT rail franchise mobilisation is a hugely complex process that has to be completed on an incredibly tight timetable”, said Ged McEwan, Abellio’s Head of Legal. “The Stephenson Harwood team did a fantastic job for us, applying huge industry expertise, excellent technical legal ability and an unfailingly positive attitude, to deliver one of the most challenging mobilisation workstreams on time.”

Stephenson Harwood initially advised on the transfer and leasing of the existing trains – which comprised 368 vehicles in total – into the new franchise, as well as the manufacture and supply of a £400 million fleet of new Hitachi ‘bi mode’ trains. The team’s involvement also included supporting Abellio’s efforts to satisfy each of the other conditions set by the DfT, which were required in order for the franchise to ‘go live’.

“This was a strategically significant development for Abellio, which hails a new era for rail services between London St Pancras International, the East Midlands and Sheffield, and from Liverpool to Norwich,” said Tammy Samuel, head of finance, Stephenson Harwood. “We were pleased to support them through this complex process, leveraging our in-depth understanding of the rail industry and notable experience advising on franchises to secure a successful outcome.”

The Stephenson Harwood team comprised rail partners Tammy Samuel and Darren Fodey, senior associates Caroline Hooton and Richard Hughes, and associates Michael Berryman and Kulraj Badhesha.



Tammy Samuel

Tammy Samuel
Partner and co head of rail

T:  +44 20 7809 2227 M:  +44 7766 991 053 Email Tammy | Vcard Office:  London


Andrew Rieley
Head of communications & PR
T: +44 20 7809 2886
Email Andrew
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