Railtrack is asking the government for a 99-year lease on London Underground's sub-surface track in return for taki...
Railtrack is asking the government for a 99-year lease on London Underground's sub-surface track in return for taking on the risky task of upgrading it and maintaining it, according to The Sunday Times (Business section p3).
Under the government's original plan, the Tube network was to be split into three concessions running for a total of 30 years each. However, given the poor state of the sub-surface lines - the Metropolitan, East London, Circle and District - Railtrack believes it needs a much longer lease to ensure it gets a reasonable return on its investment. From the start Railtrack has said it is interested in taking on the sub-surface lines, arguing that it can link them more effectively into its existing overground network.
Railtrack has been encouraged by the treasury to look at taking on the entire underground network including the two deep-line franchises. Talks for such a deal are at and early stage and are sensitive. Other bidders have indicated they will pull out if railtrack is allowed to bid for the lot, believing they could not hope to compete against its financial clout.