Has the Government’s patience with Britain’s railway reached the end of the line? Network Rail’s boss, Mr Mark Carne has confirmed that the organisation that looks after Britain’s railway network is considering selling off up to 7,500 properties including a number of iconic railway stations. These would not only include possibly Waterloo, but also Paddington and Birmingham New Street amongst other iconic stations, buildings, locations and pieces of British history. With the most likely buyers of such expensive and iconic assets being either Middle Eastern or Chinese, will Britain finally lose Waterloo?
Mark Carne has a difficult task to cut the level of debt attached to Network Rail despite some £41 Billion pounds of debt being placed in the accounts of Central Government rather than in the Network Rail capital account. Network Rail has spent many hundreds of millions upgrading and restoring Paddington Station and a number of other primary train stations but is still left with a significant debt pile which it is under pressure to reduce. Selling off some of these assets is a suggested and favoured option in some political and government quarters.
Confirmation has been announced by Mr Mark Carne (who holds the position of Chief Executive) that there would be a sale of a substantial number of Network Rail’s properties and assets sold. He has also mooted the proposal of selling some of the iconic flagship assets. As expected, this has already received objections from Labour sources, who undoubtedly will be supported by the Unions.
Network Rail looks after vast numbers of properties as well as over 20,000 miles of track, 35,000 bridges and tunnels and 2,500 stations.
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