With government initiatives such as Europe’s TENS-T programme, rail infrastructure, maintenance and operation is increasingly being provided across international borders. As the rail market has liberalised and opportunities in home markets shrink, former national rail providers are seeking to increase profits through transnational opportunities and cross border alliances.
We advise clients worldwide in all sectors of the railway industry and on all legal aspects of their business. We have a proven track record in acting for governments, public bodies and private operators on railway projects of national and international importance.
Our experience of the rail sector includes advising on restructuring, privatisation, operator access, franchising, major investment and construction projects, regulation, financing, disputes and environmental issues. We are involved in negotiations at the highest level within the industry, but also deal with day to day issues (including the operational requirements of the railway).
Specialist areas of our rail practice include:
- we advise on all commercial contracts, including track access and customer-supply relationships, such as with train operators, franchisees and maintenance contractors. We also structure performance regimes in the railways industry and advise on major PPPs.
Competition, regulatory and EC
- we advise on structuring rail projects with regard to the evolving (frequently hostile) EU public procurement regulations and other public procurement issues. We also have wide regulatory experience, including railway licences, access agreements and access charge reviews, and advise and work with governments and regulatory bodies, sector investors and operators.
- we advise from the inception of rail projects through to their completion. We are involved in the preparation and negotiation of the terms of construction documentation. We also undertake the drafting of performance bonds, guarantees and insurance arrangements.
Corporate and insolvency
- we are involved in a full range of railway corporate transactions, including company and business acquisitions and disposals, flotations, and complex, innovative and challenging privatisations. We also have cutting edge railways insolvency expertise.
- we offer a full dispute resolution service including adjudication, arbitration, litigation, mediation and other ADR processes
- we are the market leaders in advising on the specific regulatory framework for the railways sector.
Employment, benefits and health & safety
- we provide advice on projects and transactions including TUPE advice in contracting out situations, executive terminations, industrial action, contracts and secondment arrangements, as well as carrying out employment audits, reviewing and commenting on existing employment documentation
- we also advise clients on health & safety issues in the railways industry.
- we advise on complex project finance, structured finance and export finance arrangements, whether on a limited recourse basis or not. This has involved public sector grants, debt and equity funding, including high value bond issues
- our asset finance and leasing practice focuses on the financing of big ticket assets delivering off-balance sheet operating leases, leveraged leases, export credit finance and asset backed securitisations
- we also advise on insurance and reinsurance issues and disputes.
IT and e-commerce
- we advise on setting up travel websites, software licences and all IT-related matters for transport industry clients.
Real estate & environment
- we advise on all aspects of development, investment and management. We have unrivalled knowledge of station and depot leases and related concession arrangements, extensive experience of station/depot access contracts, and detailed knowledge of planning law
- we also have a leading environmental practice with cutting edge experience of the environmental issues relevant to the railway sector, for example contaminated land issues.