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Expert rail law advice from a team of experienced legal advisers to the rail sector.

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The UK rail sector has enjoyed unprecedented success over recent years. With the link between transport connectivity and economic growth now firmly established, and rail’s role in combating poor air quality and the climate emergency well recognised, that success seems set to continue, exemplified by mega-projects such as HS2, Crossrail and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Our rail team contains a range of experts accustomed to helping clients navigate the peculiarities of the sector. The team is led by Steve Johns, a specialist with over a decade's experience in rail. Over his career has acted on some of the most significant projects in the UK rail industry, for clients including the Department for Transport, regional transport authorities, TOCs, rolling stock manufacturers and maintainers.

Steve is supported by colleagues from across the firm, each of whom brings expertise in his/her particular subject area along with a deep understanding of the rail sector — for example, real estate, planning, construction, litigation and employment.

We have experience across both light- and heavy-rail, and in many of the key sub-sectors of the industry:

  • Rolling stock procurement, leasing and maintenance
  • Rail franchising/concession arrangements
  • Regulatory matters
  • Track renewal works
  • Track, station and depot access
  • Third-party developments affecting the railway

Our team members bring to Weightmans their collective experience from leading national firms. The team's credentials include:

  • Advising Alstom Transport UK on its suite of contracts with Avanti West Coast relating to the extensive refurbishment of the Pendolino fleet and its maintenance throughout the term of the West Coast Partnership franchise, worth £642 million.
  • Advising Manchester City Council on the redevelopment of Oxford Road Station.
  • Advising Siemens Powerlines Limited in relation to its role as main contractor on the £260m electrification of the Midland main line.
  • Advising Dudley Council on the development of its Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre, including advice on funding, real estate, commercial and construction issues.
  • Acting for the Department of Transport in relation to the Thameslink Rolling Stock Programme, the Department’s complex suite of contracts with the Cross London Trains consortium (led by Siemens) for the privately-financed manufacture, supply and long term maintenance of 1,140 rolling stock vehicles for the Thameslink line, together with the re-provision of two new maintenance depots. The work included advising on the £1.4 billion refinancing of the project, on substantial and complex variations, and on issues arising from depot construction works.
  • Advising the Department for Transport on access arrangements for Crossrail services to the privately-owned Heathrow Spur, including supporting DfT as an interested party in an (unsuccessful) judicial review of the ORR decision in respect of the charging framework.
  • Advising Merseytravel on its £600m project to replace rolling stock on the Merseyrail Electrics Network, involving the manufacture of the new trains and their long-term maintenance, and necessitating the construction of new maintenance depots and changes to the ongoing long-term concession arrangements between Merseytravel and the TOC.
  • Supporting Serco Caledonian Sleepers throughout its mobilisation to take over the Caledonian Sleepers franchise.
  • Acting for Keolis Amey Docklands on its winning bid to take over operation of the Docklands Light Railway.
  • Advising Nexus on the early stages of its project to replace the fleet of metro cars that operate on the Tyne and Wear Metro, developing a procurement strategy and drawing up key contracts.
  • Advising Nottingham Express Transit on numerous land and CPO issues relating to the Transport and Works Act Order for the Nottingham Tram project.

Our team can also provide expert services in:


Other rail sub sectors