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March 17, 2016

Shaw report dismisses Network Rail privatisation

A report by HS1 chief executive Nicola Shaw has dismissed the indication of any forthcoming plans to privatise the UK rail infrastructure manager Network Rail.

nework Rail

A report by HS1 chief executive Nicola Shaw has dismissed the indication of any forthcoming plans to privatise the UK rail infrastructure manager Network Rail.

The report commissioned by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) aimed to evaluate the current structure and financing model of Network Rail to support growth and investment.

Shaw said: "The railway remains a growing and dynamic industry.

"However, in a fiscally constrained environment, the government has to make difficult decisions about what railway schemes it can afford to fund.

"The private sector therefore has a part to play in supplementing the resources available to invest and grow the railway to meet social and economic needs.

"The report team has dismissed privatisation of the whole company, and instead has focused on solutions that may be appropriate for certain parts of Network Rail, as well as for specific enhancement projects."

However, the report recommends permitting private firms to run part of the rail network under time limited licences.

"The report recommends permitting private firms to run part of the rail network under time limited licences."

In addition, the report addresses major concerns affecting growth of the railways, and suggests seven reforms to further the scope of improvement such as a new Network Rail route for the north of England.

Network Rail CEO Mark Carne said: "I welcome Nicola’s report and her engagement with us and the industry in developing it.

"We will work with the Department for Transport as they now consider these recommendations and we look forward to a future, which I genuinely believe is bright for the railways and for the ever growing number of passengers."

Network Rail was recently reported to be considering future options to bring in new private capital and expertise to support the operation, maintenance, renewal, financing and improvement of its electrical distribution and traction power assets.

The move is believed to include assessing interest in its electrical assets from global investors and electricity network operators.


Image: Nicola Shaw’s report commissioned by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) has dismissed the privatisation of Network Rail. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail.

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