Network Rail property company formed to fast-track £1bn sale of land

Network Rail is to fast-track the £1bn sale of development land for homes by setting up its own property company.

The existing Network Rail Property arm is being given greater independence by establishing it as a property company with its own board to approve investments in Network Rail’s estate and make key decisions about the disposal of property assets.

Network Rail said the new structure and governance arrangement will speed up its property activities to help generate £1.8bn to fund the national Railway Upgrade Plan, increase focus on plans to deliver land for housing and continue to generate income from other property assets to reinvest into the railway.

The new company is led by David Biggs as managing director with the board chaired by former Virgin Trains CEO Chris Gibb, who has been a non-executive director of Network Rail since 2013. Biggs commented: "A bigger and better railway requires significant investment and Network Rail is generating an extra £1.8bn to help fund the Railway Upgrade Plan, mostly through the sale of property assets where continued Network Rail ownership is not essential to running the railway. 

“Our new property company will have greater powers to unlock land for homes, drive economic growth in towns and cities and reinvest money into the rail network to help fund the Railway Upgrade Plan. It will mean that investment or asset disposal decisions can be made at the right level within the organisation in a timely way while ensuring appropriate oversight is in place,” said Biggs.

A search has begun to identify two further non-executive directors with significant experience in the commercial and residential property market and in leading complex property disposal and acquisition transactions. 

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