Track and signalling

20.09.16

Network Rail abandons plans to privatise telecoms network

Network Rail’s telecoms network has been excluded from its planned sale of assets, the infrastructure owner has confirmed.

Network Rail announced in March that it is considering selling off a wide range of assets, including its fibre optic and telecoms network, which delivers voice, data, video and broadband services to enable communication between trains and maintenance teams.

It is also considering finding a buyer for its electrical and land assets.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We started to look at options to divest of spare capacity in the telecoms network. There are now no immediate plans to progress this as we focus on other assets under consideration.”

They added that the sales were not part of plans to generate £1.8bn to fund the Rail Upgrade Plan, an ambitious programme of improvements currently being promoted in the ‘Britain Runs on Rail’ campaign.

Network Rail is facing significant funding shortfalls, with its debt due to reach £50bn by the end of the decade.

In August, Network Rail announced that it had appointed Neil Sachdev and Steve Smith as non-executive directors with responsibility for selling non-core assets through the recently-created Property board.

It has also appointed Citigroup to assess options regarding the sale of 18 major stations, including London Waterloo, Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham New Street, with a report expected back by the end of the year. The proposals are opposed by anti-privatisation group We Own It.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Ian Dinmore   20/09/2016 at 12:29

It's good news that NR will not now sell of their telecom assets, as the spare capacity has the potential to bring in an annual lease revenue from the 3rd party telecom operators and cable TV companies who are clamouring for additional capacity - that could be a very handy little annual fill-up for NR's hard budget management?

John Anderson   20/09/2016 at 15:58

Fortunately, someone with a functioning brain and an understanding that flogging vital assets isn't the brilliant idea that the Tory idiots would have us believe, must have remembered the utter farce which resulted from the last sell off of the Telecoms assets (the organisation is still in the recovery process from that mess).

Tothehills   21/09/2016 at 09:44

Given the move to ETCS, where telecoms is an integral part, this is definitely the right decision. My concern is that signalling systems structures are going to change very dramatically and NR's Fault finding measures are not up to it. As for John Anderson comment - I can remember when BT was state owned and state the customer service of the PO was awful. my parents had to wait 6 years for a phone line to be installed in the 70's. While BT customer services are not the best, they are still a billion times better than the abysmal self-serving quality of the 60's and 70's.

John Anderson   21/09/2016 at 11:04

FYI Tothehills, I wasn't referring to BT, I was referring to the BRT / Racal Telecom / Thales / Global Crossing / Level 3 farce after rail privatisation, which is still having a negative impact on the railway. However, I wouldn't say that BT is anything to boast about in terms of private sector 'success', still having a monopoly of physical service provision via Openreach for those of us located anywhere other than city centres. The 70s is really not a valid comparison now given advances in technology. I would suggest over 4 months to fix a simple copper cable fault just last year, with BT Retail and BT Openreach continually passing the buck between each other, and total indifference from the higher echelons when contacted, is a better indicator of the 'benefits' of the private sector.

Tothe Hills   22/09/2016 at 09:49

To JA, now I am with you. Agree with you that BT are nowhere near perfect, I have been advised to not go with them by one of their employees! Bizarrely though, they own Plusnet which has the best rating in the industry (though I think they are about to test my patience).

Lutz   27/09/2016 at 22:44

So if there is marketable spare capacity on the system, why has there been no significant take-up of that capacity by data carriers? Perhaps because the system is of no value to modern carrier operations?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Reasons to be cheerful

23/03/2017Reasons to be cheerful

Ahead of the major imminent reforms to the apprenticeship system, Simon Rennie, general manager of the National Training Academy for Rail, outlin... more >
TfWM to take over running of Midland Metro next year

22/03/2017TfWM to take over running of Midland Metro next year

Day-to-day running of the Midland Metro tram service will be taken on entirely by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) from October 2018 when the c... more >
Forgetful passengers to be refunded railcard penalties

22/03/2017Forgetful passengers to be refunded railcard penalties

A new scheme will allow passengers who are charged extra for travelling without a railcard to claim their money back at least once per year, effe... more >

editor's comment

08/03/2017A celebration of rail achievement

Welcome to this special UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA) review issue of RTM. The fourth edition of the prestigious awards took place on 9 February at London’s Battersea Evolution and, once again, was a huge success.  With over 1,100 rail decision-makers in attendance, the black-tie event was a great place for networking and celebrating the success of the rail industry in the last 12 months. To see who won at this year’s... read more >

last word

Reasons to be cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful

Ahead of the major imminent reforms to the apprenticeship system, Simon Rennie, general manager of the National Training Academy for Rail, outlines the industry’s reasons to be positive abo... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Business as usual: Vivarail begins testing of new battery train

21/03/2017Business as usual: Vivarail begins testing of new battery train

If you were one of the many left saddened and disappointed when Vivarail’s test train caught fire over the festive period due to a fuel leak on one of the gensets, the company has some good news: its new test car, operated as a battery train, has completed its first successful run – sending a clear message to all non-believers that... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The future connected rail system needs a connected community

21/03/2017The future connected rail system needs a connected community

The rail and tech sectors must collaborate to determine the optimal route to the digital railway, writes Julian McGougan, head of technology at t... more >
Suppliers offer boost to digital railway plans

21/03/2017Suppliers offer boost to digital railway plans

David Clarke, technical director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), explains why the success of the supply chain will be the success of t... more >
Collecting safety culture data confidentially

21/03/2017Collecting safety culture data confidentially

Chris Langer, scheme intelligence manager at CIRAS, explains how confidential reporting can ‘deep dive’ into an organisation’s ... more >
Inclusive design of ticket sales counters

21/03/2017Inclusive design of ticket sales counters

Boaz Yariv, senior architect, and Dr Elizabeth de Mello, senior ergonomics specialist at Network Rail, discuss the complex ergonomic consideratio... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Intertrain: ready for the future

23/02/2017Intertrain: ready for the future

RTM recently attended Intertrain’s ‘Driving for Success’ event in Doncaster, where leaders from major players such as Carillion... more >