Shoosmiths has advised rolling stock asset management company Porterbrook on the leasing of a 135-acre site at Long Marston, Warwickshire. The site will be used by Porterbrook as a rail facility and includes 12 miles of storage sidings, a two-mile test track loop, electrified railway line and a number of maintenance buildings.
Porterbrook has been at the heart of the UK rail network for over 25 years and owns around a quarter of the national passenger rail fleet. The leading UK provider of rail leasing and asset management support, Porterbrook has invested over £3bn in commissioning 2,500 new passenger and freight vehicles since 1996. Its HydroFLEX hydrogen-powered train, which began mainline trials in 2020, was the culmination of almost two years development work with the University of Birmingham. Porterbrook plans to invest a further £1bn into UK rail in the coming years.
The Long Marston deal is of significant strategic importance for Porterbrook in achieving that vision and the new facility will enable the company to continue to work with rail supply chain and academic bodies. Long Marston will be the largest specialist rolling stock storage site in the country and will continue to be the base of the annual RailLive expo.
This was a complex transaction and Shoosmiths utilised its expertise across the firm to advise on dilapidations, environmental matters, vacant possession, planning issues and TUPE. Partner Jo McGuinness and principal associate Emily Stocker led on the Real Estate aspects, Matthew Price advised in respect of planning and Mark Shepherd advised in relation to the transfer of assets (all based in Shoosmiths Solent office). Manchester-based Richard Symonds provided specialist property litigation advice and Michael Briggs (Nottingham) advised in respect of the TUPE transfer.
Chris McClure, who joined Porterbrook as General Counsel in 2018 and was formerly a partner and head of the structured asset finance practice at Shoosmiths, said:
“I knew we would be in safe hands in getting this complex deal over the line. Jo and the team at Shoosmiths did an excellent job, as was expected, in helping us to establish a facility that will support decarbonisation, reduce energy consumption and create a better environment for rail passengers.”