Network Rail could be privatised, says HS1 boss Nicola Shaw

Lynsey Barber
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Network Rail could become private (Source: Getty)

Network Rail could be speeding towards future as a private company, after the boss brought in to shake up the company following serious failures said privatisation was "on the table".

"It can't not be" said Nicola Shaw, speaking to the BBC, about the future prospects of Network Rail, which is responsible for the upkeep of the UK's rail network.

Currently the boss of HS1, Shaw was brought in over the summer to look at the performance of the public sector body after a series of failures, including major overrunning of engineering works and a u-turn on promises of multi-billion-pound upgrades as finances have veered wildly out of control.

Read more: £2m fine for Network Rail's London Bridge chaos

She also said the way it is regulated "must be" something that's looked at. Shaw will report on her recommendations to the government before next year's spring Budget.

Network Rail's debts stand just short of £40bn. A sale of its properties such as Vinopolis and Brixton Arches is on the cards and could raise £1bn.

Shaw was brought in to assess the funding and structure of the public body while former Transport for London boss Sir Peter Hendy was named chairman to bring the organisation under control.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has revealed plans to put running of UK trains back into public hands.

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