Addleshaw Goddard's multi-disciplinary, cross office team advised the Department for Transport (DfT) on its decision to award the flagship West Coast Partnership rail franchise to a FirstGroup/Trenitalia consortium, who will take over intercity services on the London-Glasgow line from 8 December. 

The line, which links the capital with cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, has been run since privatisation by Virgin Rail. Addleshaw Goddard are proud to have worked as the DfT's principal legal advisors on this strategically important project since 2015. It is the biggest and most complex rail franchise ever let by the DfT – it anticipates the introduction of HS2 and has been designed to provide greater flexibility in-life, helping to accommodate changes to the HS2 programme. In addition the franchise agreement contains a new Forecast Revenue Mechanism, and an annual review to ensure partnership working is effective, collaborative and continually improving. The team was led by Paul Hirst with support from the wider transport team including Ursula Gould and Michael Rainey, affirming our position as a key legal adviser in the Transport Sector.

Paul Hirst, Head of Transport, Said: "We are really proud to be advising Central Government on this flagship project which has procured an operator not only for services on the West Coast Main Line but also to work with the DfT to develop and then operate services on HS2. This affirms our position as a key legal advisor in the Transport Sector and, at an interesting time for the rail industry as the franchise system is reviewed, has given us the opportunity to help shape key aspects of the thinking that is flowing through into the analysis of what will come next."