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1995-10-04 DoT-001
Department of Transport

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Rail privatisation “real and happening now” – John Watts


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Department of Transport

Rail privatisation “real and happening now” – John Watts
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date
4 October 1995
source Department of Transport
type Press release

note 316


John Watts, Minister for Railways and Roads, last night rounded on
critics of rail privatisation, accusing them of “living in the past”.

Speaking at an Ernst & Young Transport Seminar in London, the
Minister welcomed the progress towards a railway industry firmly in
the private sector:

"Each passing week sees privatisation gathering momentum. We have
already made substantial progress and I am content that the coming
months will see a flood of announcements and successful sales. Rail
privatisation is real, and it's happening now. Anyone who thinks it's
just a theory is living in the past."

Substantial progress has already been made in rail privatisation
including:

-Indicative bids have been received for the first three passenger
train operating companies - Great Western, South West Trains and LTS
Rail - and a further four, InterCity East Coast, Midland Main Line,
Gatwick Express and Network SouthCentral are out to tender.

-potential bidders were this week invited to pre-qualify to bid for a
further two franchises - South Eastern and Chiltern

-final bids for the sale of the rolling stock leasing companies have
been received and the sale of the three Trainload freight companies
is well under way.

-there has been a substantial level of interest from prospective
bidders for all 13 British Rail track maintenance and renewal
businesses

-only this morning the successful sale, by competitive tender, of
British Rail's catering supply businesses, OBS Services Ltd, was
announced - one of the country's largest suppliers of pre-packaged
foods.

Mr Watts added:

"I have never claimed that the privatisation process would be quick
or easy. A demanding and challenging programme was set in order to
bring benefits as quickly as possible not just to passengers but to
all rail users.

"Growing numbers of companies are bidding for and buying into the new
railway business. They are investing in the future of our railways,
and this Government is making sure the privatisation process gathers
pace each passing week."


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