Darren is an expert in rail regulation, regulated contracts and railway operations, with broad expertise in all areas affecting railway businesses: bidders, infrastructure managers and train operators. He has been named as a “Next Generation Partner” by the Legal 500 directory. He works with both the public and private sectors, offering insights on how the railway works in the real world.
Darren is known for his deep knowledge of rail regulation and regulated contracts, as well as the rail franchise/concession cycle, from bid through to mobilisation and day-to-day operation of a rail business and associated supply arrangements. Acting for train operators, infrastructure managers, funders and procurers of railway services, both in the public and private sector, he offers broad perspectives of how the railway operates in the real world.
Darren has been closely involved in establishing a new infrastructure management entity for the Crossrail Central Operating Section – Rail for London (Infrastructure) Limited. Deploying his detailed knowledge of industry laws, regulation and practice, working alongside industry stakeholders such as the Office of Rail and Road and the Department for Transport, he has delivered a regulatory regime and suite of contractual documentation for the operation of the railway. His work acting on the management of the Crossrail concession with TfL shows his detailed understanding of railway operations: considering both non-contentious and contentious aspects of track and station access agreements, as well as how those agreements work in practice.
Darren's experience extends to the private sector too. He has vast experience acting for private bidders and train operators. Experienced in all aspects of franchises/concessions, he acts from the bid stage, through mobilisation and associated supply agreements and then into the operational phase. He works closely with train operators such as Trenitalia c2c on all aspects of the day-to-day operation of a franchise, from negotiating and advising on agreements and risks, variations and the implementation of significant projects on the railway. He has worked with a number of owning groups on bids or direct awards for franchises such as East Midlands, London Overground, Northern, East Anglia, Docklands Light Railway, as well as a number of train operators on the implementation of franchise initiatives such as Northern, Greater Anglia and Chiltern. This has also included advising on the impacts of Brexit and Covid-19 on existing contractual arrangements, as well as other confidential Brexit-related matters.
Darren has particular expertise in relation to Alliances between train operators and Network Rail, having been involved in the first "deep" Alliance and, since then, in connection with various "depths" of Alliance between a number of train operators and Network Rail, reflecting increasing governmental direction for closer working between industry parties. His regulatory experience includes advising on rail infrastructure projects, as well as industry ticketing arrangements – an area of considerable complexity.
Recognised by clients for his attention to detail and ease to work with, his knowledge of how the railway works in the real world means he can "talk trains" and offer pragmatic advice to railway businesses.
Darren continues to write for various industry publications on some of the latest rail issues – having featured in RAIL magazine and Rail Professional. Topics have included the Williams Rail Review, rail disputes, rail technology and rail infrastructure.
excellent on the detail