THIS WEEK IN 1994: Ministers signal Railtrack sell-off

Passengers at Portsmouth and Southsea station
Passengers at Portsmouth and Southsea station
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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.’