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Helping Transport Scotland with operators of last resort

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CPCS facilitated transfer of passenger rail operations, helping Transport Scotland mobilise ScotRail Trains Limited and Caledonian Sleepers Limited to maintain continuity of services.


Sector: Transport, rail

Client: Transport Scotland

Client type: Private company

Location: United Kingdom

Project type: Commercial and technical advisory

Advisory services: Due diligence, legal support, communication planning



Assignment: As part of an alliance between Arup, Atkins and CPCS, we provided advice to Transport Scotland in developing the Operator of Last Resort mobilisation plan. In the UK, the government turns to an OLR when a train operating company can no longer fulfill its obligations.

  • For this project, CPCS deployed experts across three workstreams, which are Contracts, Commercial and Communications. They supported the due diligence review of the businesses and the transfer of all contracts, staff, services, and assets to the new business to ensure continuity of train services.

Catch up quick: This engagement feeds into the Department for Transport’s Specialist Technical and Commercial Advisory Services for Rail and Other Transport modes (STAR2) framework.

  • STAR2 enables the UK government to “access to high quality, professionally qualified and experienced specialist third party advisory support for a range of service requirements.”

Services in brief:

  • ​​​CPCS supported the development of the mobilization plan for the transfer of contracts (TOC), staff, rolling stock, assets, and operations from Abellio ScotRail Limited to ScotRail Trains Limited and Serco Caledonian Sleeper Limited to Caledonian Sleeper Limited.

  • CPCS led the Contracts Workstream, developing a detailed understanding of all TOC, completing technical and commercial due diligence, and supporting the legal advisors in the transfer of the contract to the new OLR company.

  • CPCS led the Commercial and Revenue Workstream, reviewing contracts and operational practices and supporting the transfer to the new OLR company.

  • CPCS led the Communications Workstream, supporting the development of the communication strategy and the review of all communication outputs.

Outcome: CPCS facilitated transfers of passenger rail operations.

We delivered an in-depth overview of all contracts and offered board-level insights on commercial risks and communication planning/output.

As a result, Transport Scotland successfully mobilisation the OLR businesses, ScotRail Trains Limited and Caledonian Sleepers Limited, ensuring no disruption or deterioration in passenger services.

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