LONDON-Rail operator Network Rail has signalled a strategic change of direction which will see the company form partnerships with external developers to deliver property schemes, allowing it to focus its own resources on operating, maintaining and renewing the railway.

Network Rail will merge its property activities with its station activities to create a new operating division called Railway Estates. The division will continue to generate significant revenue streams for reinvestment in the railway. At the same time there will be a feasibility study into the possible contracting-out of management of the station retail portfolio and business centres portfolio.

Railway Estates will continue to manage and develop the Company’s landholdings – which includes stations, offices, buildings, former goods yards, retail units, disused sidings, depots, industrial land and advertising hoardings. However, the change in emphasis means Network Rail’s core activities–the operation, maintenance and renewal of the railway infrastructure – will take priority. Railway Estates Director Deborah Richards will head the new executive group.

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