• Related Services
  • Awards
  • sector image

    Transport: Rail: (franchising) UK-wide

    sector image

    sector image

    Rail finance law firm of the year 2016


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
  • Key contacts

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

03 Dec 2018

From Insights

Top table dinner: third party funding and financing in the railway industry - 10 things we learned

Wednesday 21 November 2018 saw the latest in the series of "top table" dinners jointly hosted by Stephenson Harwood and Atkins.


07 Nov 2018

From Insights

A new approach to franchising?

Writing for Rail Professional, Stefan Eilts and Darren Fodey explain why the Transport Select Committee has asked probing questions in its East Coast Report.


20 Sep 2018

From Insights

Rail franchising: the balance between risk and reward

If this were BBC Two's "Only Connect", we might expect Victoria Coren-Mitchell to be quizzing us on the connection between McNulty, Brown, Bowe and Shaw.


30 Jul 2018

From Insights

European Commission opens Phase II investigation into proposed acquisition of Alstom by Siemens

On 13 July 2018, the European Commission ("EC") opened an in-depth Phase II investigation into the proposed acquisition by Siemens of Alstom under the EU merger contro..


18 Jul 2018

From Insights

Identifying, supporting, growing and developing the next generation of female leaders in the UK rail and transport industry: top table dinner

On Wednesday 11 July, Stephenson Harwood, SNC Lavallin Atkins and Women in Rail hosted a top table dinner to launch the Senior Women in (or formerly in) Transport (SWI..


16 May 2018

From Insights

Launch of Network Rail's Digital Strategy

Network Rail’s Digital Railway Strategy was launched by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Network Rail Chief Executive Mark Carne at an event in York on the 10 Ma..


15 May 2018

From Insights

Investing in the railway: a new approach?

Darren Fodey considers a new approach to funding for rail projects in the May issue of Rail Professional.


05 Apr 2018

From Insights

Rail franchising: 10 key points from the top table dinner

Peter Wilkinson, the Department for Transport's Managing Director of Rail Passenger Services, kindly joined Stephenson Harwood and Atkins on Tuesday 13 March 2018 for ..


23 Mar 2018

From Insights

Rail private investment – Key points from the DfT and ORR's new call for investors

In this update we consider: (a) what are the key points from the DfT guidance in terms of preparing a proposal; and (b) the key features of the DfT's new governance pr..


15 Feb 2018

From Insights

New year, new direction?

The UK's Department for Transport launched its strategic vision for rail in November 2017, including plans to split the Great Western franchise and introduce a one tea..


14 Feb 2018

From Insights

Brexit: implications for rail rolling stock procurement, leasing and financing

Graeme McLellan writes for Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law.


10 Jan 2018

From News

Stephenson Harwood named 'Rail Finance Team of the Year'

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


02 Jan 2018

From Insights

Brexit - What should the railway industry be doing now?

January 2018: as dawn breaks on a new year, we can look on the profoundly changed landscape wrought by Brexit – riven and divided it is true, but one with perhaps sign..


21 Dec 2017

From Insights

Mark Carne top table dinner – Network Rail Chief Executive: 10 Key points

Mark Carne, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, kindly joined Stephenson Harwood and Atkins on Thursday 14 December 2017 for a top table dinner.


12 Dec 2017

From News

Stephenson Harwood named 'Transport Law Firm of the Year'

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has been named 'Transport Law Firm of the Year' at the Legal 500 UK Awards 2018.


01 Nov 2017

From Insights

DfT Rolling Stock Perspective Policy paper

On 19 October 2017, the Department for Transport ("DfT") published the latest edition of its "Rolling Stock Perspective", the annual policy paper in which the DfT sets..


© 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.