THIS WEEK IN 1994: Ministers signal Railtrack sell-off

Passengers at Portsmouth and Southsea station
Passengers at Portsmouth and Southsea station
In this rare photograph we see the new Langstone road bridge (top) under construction with the old wooden bridge alongside. It opened in 1956.

NOSTALGIA: Bus passengers too heavy to cross to Hayling so had to walk

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Ministers were thought to be gearing up for the multi-billion pound privatisation of Railtrack as the final part of the sell-off of the rail industry.

The long expected move – which could have seen the national track authority in private hands by the following general election – could have raised up to £6.5bn for Treasury coffers.

The move would have allowed John Major to face down criticism from Tory right-wingers that the new legislative programme lacked a radical cutting edge.

A Department of Transport spokesman described the report as speculation.

He said: ‘Ministers have said that the commitment is there to privatise Railtrack and it will be done at the earliest practical opportunity.’