European law firm Fieldfisher has advised the Department for Transport (DfT) on its new franchise agreement with Arriva Cross Country, which includes a package of passenger improvements.
The agreement will see Arriva Cross Country run services from Aberdeen to Penzance, Bournemouth to Manchester and from Stansted to Cardiff until October 2019.
Arriva Cross Country will pay the government a premium of £163m over the course of the three years.
The package of improvements will see an additional 39,000 seats per year along the Edinburgh to Plymouth route, through Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol, with these seats implemented by December 2017.
What's more, the journey time from Birmingham to Manchester will be cut (by 12 minutes at weekends and nine minutes on weekdays), and free wi-fi will be rolled out by April 2018.
The Fieldfisher team was led by John Cassels, a partner specialising in major public projects, who was supported by John Worthy, Olivia Woolston-Morgan, Lowri Maher and a broader Fieldfisher team.
John Cassels said: "This agreement is a significant step in the improvement of rail services in the UK, with a range of extra benefits for passengers that includes free wi-fi, an improvement in Arriva Cross Country's fleet of trains, and faster, more comfortable journeys – we're delighted to have been involved in such a key investment."
Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era and today is a key milestone in giving passengers better journeys right across the Cross Country network.
“The franchise, which spans parts of England, Scotland and Wales, serves both commuters and long distance passengers and these benefits from Arriva Cross Country will deliver extra and smoother journeys for customers using these services.”
Fieldfisher's Rail Team supports both public and private sector clients on projects ranging from the biggest, most complex and high profile commercial deals and franchises, rolling stock manufacturing and leasing arrangements through to the introduction and deployment of innovative technology. This deal follows on from Fieldfisher supporting the DfT on a number of other projects, including a £210m fleet for Stagecoach South West Trains (September 2014), and its wi-fi/mobile communications project.
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