Ministers to reveal high speed rail link winner

THE government is this week set to unveil the winner of a contest to buy the high-speed rail link from London to the Channel Tunnel for up to £2bn.

Ministers will pick one of four consortia vying for the 68-mile line, used by Eurostar trains between London St Pancras, Paris and Brussels as well as high-speed domestic services.

A group led by Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel and including US investment bank Goldman Sachs and fund manager M&G is understood to be favourite to snap up the line, but the outcome is uncertain.

Other bidders include German insurer Allianz and the BT pension fund, a group including American investment bank Morgan Stanley, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and 3i Infrastructure and a team backed by two Canadian pension funds including Borealis Infrastructure and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

The line, called High Speed 1, is among several state assets that ministers are considering selling for up to £32bn to cut the UK’s £150bn deficit.

The consortia were due to have made their final offers last Friday and are expecting a decision by mid-week.

Meanwhile, Eurostar has defeated a High Court legal challenge from French train-maker Alstom against its decision to buy 10 high speed trains from German firm Siemens.