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    Transport: Rail: (franchising) UK-wide

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    Rail finance law firm of the year 2019 - sixth consecutive year


Our rail team combines first-class legal skills, unbeatable commitment to our clients, outstanding market knowledge and genuine commercial understanding. Being at the table with the industry means we have unique insights from all perspectives. This benefits our clients, who comprise some of the most significant stakeholders in the industry.
  • Profile
  • Experience
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Demand for railway services continues to grow. The UK has seen unprecedented activity in passenger rail franchising, growth in demand for new rolling stock and investment in rail infrastructure. This has all taken place within a legal and regulatory framework that is continually evolving. In Europe, the market has been open to greater competition since the 1990s and this is expected to continue with the recast of the First Railway Package and the introduction of the Fourth Railway Package.

Our team acts for private sector operators and owning groups, public bodies, financiers, lessors, industry bodies, infrastructure owners, manufacturers and maintainers and includes lawyers who have worked in or been seconded to the industry (including to General Counsel roles in both of High Speed 1 and High Speed 2).

We can help you with:

  • franchise agreements and concessions (including direct awards)
  • mobilisations and demobilisations
  • competition issues
  • infrastructure procurement, ownership, operation and maintenance
  • access agreements and options
  • stations, depots and adjacent property
  • rolling stock procurement, operation, leasing and maintenance
  • signalling arrangements
  • employment, unions and pensions
  • joint ventures
  • planning and environmental issues
  • procurement and regulation
  • real estate and construction
  • intellectual property rights and protection
  • dispute resolution
  • procurement challenges

Twitter @LegalRail

"They have an excellent understanding of the industry."
Chambers UK 2018

Northern Rail – franchise, direct award and operations

Acting for the UK's largest operator on all aspects of its franchise operations including its direct award, rolling stock matters, disputes, real estate and all commercial arrangements.

CAF – major rolling stock procurement including Caledonian Sleepers

Advising Spanish manufacturer CAF on the majority of its UK rolling stock bids, including the successful bid for the Caledonian Sleeper fleet expected to come into service in April 2018. This included maintenance arrangements and employment issues.

Transport for London – strategic advice on rail regulation including in relation to Crossrail

We work alongside TfL in considering its rail regulation strategy. In particular, we advise on all elements of the design of the regulatory and charging frameworks for Crossrail.

Transport for London – development of a new stations access regime

TfL is taking on greater responsibility for heavy rail services in the capital. With TfL, we designed and implemented innovative and ground breaking arrangements for the leasing of and access to TfL Rail stations.

National Express – advising major train operator on its ScotRail bid

Representing National Express on all aspects of its bid to Transport Scotland in relation to the ScotRail franchise, including rolling stock, competition and employment advice.

Abellio Greater Anglia – devolution of services to LOROL and Crossrail

Devolution of rail services to local authorities is expected to be a key part of this Parliament. We advised operator Abellio Greater Anglia on the transfer of certain of its services to TfL concessionaires LOROL and Crossrail.

Train operator – confidential disputes on franchise agreement terms

We work closely with train operators and regularly advise on the interpretation of their contractual arrangements – this can lead to disputes and we have advised on high profile (confidential) disputes in the rail sphere.

Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern – competition filings

UK and EU competition issues are at the top of the agenda in the rail industry. We advise on competition filings in the UK and EU as well as competition strategy for a number of operators. We recently made successful filings in relation to the TSGN franchise at both EU and UK level.

High Speed 2 – General Counsel and industry consultation

One of our partners was seconded as the general counsel of HS2 and we have also assisted HS2 in its rail industry consultation through a series of top table dinners.

Voyager Leasing – signalling contracts

Advising the owners of the Voyager fleet on the procurement of on train (ETCS) signalling.


Tammy Samuel Partner

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


Suzanne Tarplee Partner

T:  + 44 20 7809 2389
M:  +44 7718 247 220 Email Suzanne | Vcard Office:  London

Latest news & insights

21 Aug 2019

From News

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),..


12 Aug 2019

From Insights

New-build rolling stock in the Brexit era

Kulraj Badhesha and Jacqueline Cook, of Stephenson Harwood, look at how uncertainty over Brexit has brought negotiation of "change of law risk" into focus in the rail ..


02 Aug 2019

From News

Stephenson Harwood appointed to Crown Commercial Service Legal Panel

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has been appointed to the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) wider public sector legal services panel. The appointment is for three years, ..


16 Jul 2019

From Insights

SWIFT top table dinner on the Imposter Syndrome - Top 10 points from the dinner

On Thursday 11 July, the SWIFT Network of Women in Rail hosted a top table dinner, supported by Stephenson Harwood and SNC Lavalin Atkins.


28 May 2019

From Insights

Williams Rail Review update 5 - who wants what? A summary of key themes

This is the fifth in our series of updates on the Williams Review of the rail industry.


15 May 2019

From Insights

Williams Rail Review update 4 - RDG calls for "generational upgrade", while passengers tell Williams that travelling is the luck of the draw

This is the 4th in our series of updates on the Williams Review of the rail industry (the Review).


07 May 2019

From Insights

Funds for investment

In a recent Rail article, senior associate Richard Hughes discusses the use of private finance to deliver railway infrastructure, and the common themes that are emergi..


01 May 2019

From Insights

Disputes under NEC

Writing for Rail Professional, partners Ron Nobbs and Charlotte Heywood provide their tips on managing NEC infrastructure contracts, in the last of the team's series o..


25 Apr 2019

From Insights

Williams Rail Review update 3 - freight, “metroisation” and “radical” reform

This is the third in our series of updates on the Williams Review of the rail industry.


08 Apr 2019

From Insights

Settling the score

Writing for Rail Professional, Paul Thwaite and James Hammond consider the issues that arise when a bidder for a public contract wants to challenge the scores awarded ..


25 Mar 2019

From Insights

Williams Rail Review update 2 - objectives, structure, devolution and the supply chain

This is the second in our series of updates on the Williams Review of the rail industry. In this update, we consider what has happened over the last few weeks.


11 Mar 2019

From Insights

Williams Rail Review – where are we now?

In the first of a series of articles on the Williams Rail Review, Jacqueline Cook and Darren Fodey from the Stephenson Harwood Rail Team consider what has happened so ..


06 Mar 2019

From Insights

Dealing with rail disputes - a series of top tips: (1) "Change" under franchise agreements"

Over the course of this month and the next three months, members of the Stephenson Harwood rail disputes team will be considering a number of topical issues relating t..


01 Mar 2019

From Insights

On the right track?

Writing for Rail Professional, senior associates Charlotte Heywood and Darren Fodey provide their tips on dealing with disputes under track access contracts, in the se..


11 Feb 2019

From Insights

Happy new Regulations day! The 'Market Pillar' takes steps to open up the railways to competition

Today (11 February 2019) sees the coming into force of provisions intended to implement the "Market Pillar" of the Fourth Railway Package of EU legislation following t..


05 Feb 2019

From News

Stephenson Harwood named 'Rail Law Firm of the Year'

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has been named 'Rail Law Firm of the Year' by Global Transport Finance magazine, for the sixth consecutive year.


© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.