Stephenson Harwood advises on Northern Rail franchise agreement

Stephenson Harwood has advised Northern Rail and its joint venture owners on the negotiation and signing of its 22-month single tender award franchise agreement with the Department for Transport.

The franchise agreement is currently effective, with services under the new agreement commencing on 1 April.

The firm is also appointed to advise Northern Rail and its joint venture partners on its bid to run the next Northern franchise, which is expected to commence bidding shortly.

At the end of last year, Stephenson Harwood became Northern Rail’s main legal advisers on all of its rail, regulatory, franchising, commercial, corporate, real estate and dispute resolution matters (mandates taken over from previous incumbents Dentons and Bond Dickinson).

Northern Rail is a joint venture owned equally by Serco Group and Abellio (the international operating business of Netherlands Railways). It was formed in 2004 when the joint venture parties were selected by the government to operate railway services in the north of England and provides nearly 2,500 local and regional train services every week day, calling at around 500 stations (20 per cent of the railway stations in the UK).

The Stephenson Harwood team included rail partners Tammy Samuel and Suzanne Tarplee, head of rail Graeme McLellan, real-estate partner Chris Seel, lead associate Darren Fodey and rail associates Mette Rolle and Farah Al-Hassani.