Network Rail has appointed the investment bank Rothschild to assess its £1bn commercial property portfolio, which could be sold or redeveloped.
The debt-laden organisation that runs the UK rail network has land around railway lines and also owns commercial property that brought in £266m in rent last year, making it one of its more profitable activities.
The property to be valued does not include stations but does include the railway arches that are home to hundreds of small businesses ranging from car mechanics to hairdressers and bars. A sale of telecoms rights — Network Rail runs systems providing wifi and signalling information for trains — may also be considered.
The move is part of an overhaul of the organisation, which has come under scrutiny since it was, in effect, renationalised last year when its £38bn debt was moved on to the government’s balance sheet.