Debt-burdened Network Rail faces privatisation

As problems bedevil the rail operator, could it be broken up?

Network Rail isn’t in great shape. Since being taken back as a state asset last September, the rail company has added £34bn to Britain’s debt burden, and has also racked up a string of fines for late services.

The company has also issued advance warnings of delays over the impending Easter weekend, while improvement works are in progress.

According to the Sunday Times, the numerous issues the company faces are set to be discussed by the company and civil servants, with privatising various aspects of the business a major possibility.

Network Rail owns more than 2,500 stations across the UK, as well as infrastructure including 20,000 miles of track and 40,000 bridges and tunnels.

By 2019, the company could be in debt to the tune of £50bn, according to the Office for Rail Regulation.

The Times report states that post-election options are to be explored this week. These include breaking the company up between regions, selling off rights to its tracks and stations, and possibly re-listing on the stock exchange.

However, the Department for Transport said that “the government has no plans to break up Network Rail”.

Now read

Social Bookmarks