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Railhub Archive
1995-04-24 DoT-001
Department of Transport


Rail privatisation timetable “on track” – Watts

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British Rail
Department of Transport

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Department of Transport

Rail privatisation timetable “on track” – Watts

24 April 1995
source Department of Transport
type Press release

note 121

Rail privatisation is on track and will bring a more focussed and
commercial approach to investment in the network, John Watts,
Minister for Railways and Roads, said today.

Speaking at a rail privatisation conference in London, Mr Watts
emphasised the benefits and opportunities that privatisation will
bring to the network and to Railtrack:

"I believe that privatisation offers the best future for Railtrack.
It will enable greater use to be made of private sector skills in
managing the network, in improving Railtrack stations, in seeing
efficient track maintenance is delivered and in encouraging
investment in the upgrading of railway lines.

"One example is the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line.
Approval for new signalling development within the Private Finance
Initiative demonstrates Railtrack's commitment to the long term
future of this vital route and is another example of the benefits of
private sector input - in this case ahead of our privatisation
proposals for Railtrack."

Mr Watts said there had been a high level of interest in the first
eight passenger franchises with 37 companies having applied to
pre-qualify. Many are interested in more than one franchise making
the total number of applications 160.

"The Franchising Director intends to issue the first invitations to
tender - for South West Trains, Great Western and LTS Rail - in May.
Invitations to tender for ScotRail, Midland Main Line, Gatwick
Express, Network SouthCentral and InterCity East Coast are expected
to be issued later this year."

He confirmed that rolling stock leasing companies (ROSCOs) would be
well on course for sale later this year and set out the improvements
that privatisation would bring to that sector of the rail market:

"The ROSCOs will be in vigorous competition with each other - and
indeed with any other entrants to the rolling stock supply industry.
I am confident that this competition will, over time, yield benefits
in the deployment and performance of trains, and in the efficiency
with which they are maintained.

"An Information Memorandum will shortly be sent out to those who are
successful in pre-qualifying. Interest both in the UK and overseas,
has proved to be strong. I am as optimistic as ever that we will
achieve our objective of successful sales later this year."

Mr Watts commented that the sale of the industry's support businesses
as part of a rolling programme had already started and will continue
over the next two years. The sale of BR's heavy maintenance depots
is most advanced - the first sale took place before Easter:

"We expect to sell all the British Rail Infrastructure Services units
to the private sector by 31 March 1996. The sale of the BRIS units
will create a competitive and efficient infrastructure service supply

He said that BR Telecommunications would be brought to the market in
the near future. Turning to freight Mr Watts said:

We intend to privatise all BR's domestic freight businesses in the
course of 1995. The new owners of the businesses will have the
freedom to assess new diversification and investment opportunities."

He concluded:

"We are moving rapidly towards implementation of rail privatisation.
I very much hope the private sector will come forward to seize these
opportunities. That is the path to the modern and efficient railway
we all want to see."


1. Mr Watts was speaking at the IIR conference entitled "Effectively
Assessing The Level of Risk and Opportunity from Investment in Rail

Railhub Archive ::: 1995-04-24 DoT-001


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