DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary has steered Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) through a competitive tender to win the largest franchise in European rail history.
It is the first time DLA Piper has been appointed by GNER, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sea Containers.
Sea Containers’ head of legal Janet Huck appointed legacy DLA partner Andrew Herring to advise on franchise issues. Andrew Herring joined DLA from Richards Butler in 2003, bringing GNER with him as a client.
The UK’s Strategic Rail Authority put the franchise to operate high speed intercity services on the East Coast Main Line out to tender because GNER’s existing rail franchise is due to expire on 30 April this year.
GNER won the appointment from the authority, beating three other bidders. Virgin Stagecoach was advised by longstanding lawyers Denton Wilde Sapte, while the Danish State Railway is understood to have instructed Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on its bid. First Group, meanwhile, used longstanding lawyers Burges Salmon.
Clifford Chance advised the Strategic Rail Authority on this deal, although Freshfields is advising the authority on three other franchise tenders, for Greater Western, South West and Thameslink services.
DLA Piper has already won follow-up instructions from GNER, to advise the rail operator on its bid for the integrated Kent franchise.