Network Rail debt jumps to £28bn

Investment in the UK rail network pushed up infrastructure company Network Rail’s debt to more than £28bn, it said this morning.

The funding of £2.06bn of capital expenditure over the six months to September – including on the Reading station redevelopment and works on the East Coast and West Coast main lines – helped push net borrowings to £28.04bn, from £27.2bn at the end of March.

Network Rail, which maintains the rail track and signalling systems of the railway, reported operating profit over the period of £1.2bn, flat on last year’s numbers.

The firm’s finance director Patrick Butcher said Britain’s railway continued to see “strong traffic growth”.

“We have seen growth on the network of five per cent a year for a decade and this is set to continue. That means we continue to become more efficient so we can continue to invest to meet this growth," he said this morning.