Network Rail has launched the sale of its commercial property business as it seeks to focus on delivering mega projects such as Thameslink, Crossrail and Great North Rail.
Selling the “non-core property assets” will create a significant injection of cash for Network Rail’s core business. This will allow it to improve passenger experience, run a safe, reliable and growing railway and to help fund its upgrade plan, according to Network Rail.
In total 5,500 properties will be sold in England and Wales – but not in Scotland – on a leasehold basis, reflecting the need for access to these properties for the future operation of the railway.
According to Network Rail, its commercial property business is the largest provider of small and medium-sized business space in the UK, the majority of which is located in railway arches.
Network Rail is currently in discussions with existing tenants, staff and other stakeholders, who are being provided with information on the decision, impacts, and next steps. Current tenants will transfer to the new buyer with their existing leases and notice periods unchanged.
It is hoped the sale of the business will see a new owner invest more money into the commercial estate and result in more businesses, jobs, commerce and better social environments.
Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said: “I hope to see areas around the railway positively transformed with new and refurbished shops, amenities, and extra facilities for local people and passengers.”
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