Network Rail still looking at options for £1.8bn Hendy fire sale


Network Rail is still considering how to raise £1.8bn to fill a hole in its finances, as set out in last year’s Hendy review, with ‘no firm decisions' made, Transport Network has learned.

The rail infrastructure operator said it is ‘too early to say’ how much will be raised, 10 months after a review last November by Sir Peter Hendy that announced plans for a £1.8bn sale of assets to fill the majority of a £2.5bn gap in its modernisation programme.


A Network Rail spokesperson told Transport Network: ‘The assets being considered are: Commercial estate (including railway arches), freight estate, light maintenance depots, carparks (mainly non-station), and roadside advertising. These are assets which we could sell without affecting the day to day operation of a safe and reliable network. At this point in time we are considering all options and no firm decisions have been made.

‘It is too early to say either how much each asset or all assets would raise if sold. We’ve made no secret of the fact that we want to raise £1.8bn to put towards [Control Period 5] enhancements but it is impossible to say exactly what the assets would raise if sold until we’ve gone to the market.’

Network Rail also confirmed that proposals to divest its spare capacity in the telecoms network had been shelved. A spokesman said: ‘We started to look at [this]. There are now no immediate plans to progress this as we focus on other assets under consideration.’

He added: ‘This project was not part of plans to generate £1.8bn towards the Railway Upgrade Plan.’

However, the Hendy Review did identify the Network Rail telecoms network as potentially contributing towards the shortfall.

It stated: ‘To fund the increased enhancement expenditure, Network Rail will address the funding shortfall by asset divestment totalling around £1.8 billion through divestment of non-core assets.

‘This includes considering options for the sale of property assets (including retail units in managed stations and the commercial estate), spare capacity on the telecoms network and non-core rail assets such as depots.’


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