Northern Irish Connection

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28 April 2008

We beat current Irish legal advisers to secure role advising on the procurement of a new fleet of trains for Translink.

Our Rail Team are delighted to win this significant appointment, particularly as it involved dislodging the Irish law firm that had advised on Translink's fleet procurement in 2002. It also adds another prestigious client to the firm's nationally renowned rail practice which already represents, amongst others, FirstGroup, the Department for Transport, ATOC and Merseyrail.

Our team included Nick Olley (Partner) and Brioney Thomas (Associate).

The New Trains Two Project will require a number of external advisers including lawyers, accountants and engineers. Our role will be to assist Translink with the contracts that it will need to put in place with the manufacturer of the new trains both for the supply and ongoing maintenance of the fleet. We will also provide legal advice on compliance with the Procurement Regulations which require publicly funded bodies like Translink to follow certain processes.

Unlike the mainland UK, public transport in Northern Ireland is still operated by the Northern Irish government. Since 1995, this has been done through an integrated public transport operation known as Translink. With responsibility for both rail and bus services Translink is currently one of Northern Ireland's largest employers with approximately 4,000 employees and a turnover in excess of £168m. There are more than 75 million passenger journeys made on Translink services each year.

The main aim of Translink is to promote the transfer of travel from cars to public transport on a sustainable basis. Over the years Translink has introduced a number of measures to encourage the use of public transport including a policy of co-ordination of timetables, through-ticketing, feeder buses to railway stations and the joint development of transport facilities. It has also embarked on a number of major projects including station enhancements and the acquisition of new trains.

After successfully buying a fleet of new 23 trains in 2002, Translink are in the process of buying a further twenty new diesel multiple unit trains for use in and around the Belfast area from 2011 – the 'New Trains Two Project'. The new trains will be capable of travelling at speeds of up to 90mph and seating 200 passengers.

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