National law firms Shoosmiths and Bond Dickinson have advised on a rail deal which will bring hundreds of new carriages on the Gatwick Express and Thameslink routes as part of a £317 million investment by the rail industry.
Shoosmiths advised Porterbrook, who won the tender to own and lease the 224 new custom built Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) coaches at a cost of £317m that will operate on the new Govia Thameslink Railway franchise. Bond Dickinson advised Southern Railway and Govia Thameslink Railway on the financing of the new rolling stock.
Head of Shoosmiths' transport & infrastructure group, Chris McClure, was assisted by associate, Tristan Broomfield. Head of Bond Dickinson's transport & infrastructure sector team, David Rewcastle, was assisted by managing associates Will Bonas and Rachel Scott.
The new trains will be built in the UK by Derby-based manufacturer Bombardier and are due to enter service in 2016.
29 of the units will be operating on the Thameslink route, initially entering passenger service throughout December this year and, from January 2015, will begin to replace the Class 319 EMUs currently in operation on services between Bedford and Brighton. The new trains will remain in service until 2016 when the new fleet of trains being introduced as part of the Thameslink Programme is due to start deliveries at which time the Class 387s will be transferred to another operator.
The second part of the order is for 27 units to operate on the Gatwick Express service which will have easier boarding, a generous luggage space, two by two seating and Wi-Fi. These trains are due to enter service in 2016 replacing the current train fleet which are seen as unsuitable for an airport service.
Shoosmiths' Chris McClure, said: 'The new trains, which are due to commence service in the next couple of years will enhance consumer usability considerably.
This is a very important transaction for Porterbrook as the company continue their investment strategy in new trains and we are pleased to have been chosen by them to advise on such a complex, high value deal.'
David Rewcastle, who heads Bond Dickinson's transport & infrastructure sector said: 'This instruction has flowed out of Bond Dickinson's work on Govia Thameslink Railway's successful bid for Thameslink Southern Great Northern franchise and the firm's longstanding relationship with Southern Railway. We are delighted to have assisted on this step towards realising the exciting plans for those businesses.'