Shoosmiths advises on £82m train manufacturing plant

Shoosmiths advises on £82m train manufacturing plant

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Author: Alastair Gray

Shoosmiths has helped finalise agreements for a new £82m train assembly plant that is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the North East.

A multi-discipline team from the national law firm advised client Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE) on real estate, planning and construction matters.

Shoosmiths is lead adviser to HRE in connection with the InterCity Express Programme (IEP), which is the Department for Transport's PFI project to replace the UK's ageing fleet of high speed trains. Last year saw completion of the first part of the project - reported value £4.5 billion - to replace trains on the Great Western network.

Part of that project is construction of the train manufacturing plant at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

It is expected to create 200 jobs during the building phase, and is scheduled to go into full production in 2016. The centre, which will include research and development facilities, will employ around 730 people and be capable of producing up to 35 vehicles-a-month.

Shoosmiths' team was led by partner and real estate specialist Joanne McGuinness, who drew on her knowledge of rail regulatory matters when working on the interface with Network Rail, and requirements for the factory's test track, an integral part of the facility.

Partner Kirsten Hewson handled planning issues; while Partner Simon Wain advised on the construction elements of the scheme.

McGuinness said: "We've been able to provide the high-level advice required by HRE in order for it to drive forward this nationally important project, which is bringing investment to the UK and creating more than 900 jobs in an area hit hard by the economic downturn."

As part of the IEP, HRE will also provide three new depots for maintenance and servicing of the trains, at Swansea, Bristol and Doncaster.

Since rail privatisation, Shoosmiths has developed in-depth knowledge of the sector, acting for a wide range of industry bodies, including rolling stock manufacturers, leasing companies, and operators (passenger and freight). It advises on new rolling stock procurement, manufacture and supply agreements for rolling stock fleets, franchising, asset finance and leasing, health and safety, and maintenance and servicing agreements.