Rail groups signal Tube interest

MORE THAN 100 private sector organisations, including Railtrack and the three train leasing companies, have signalled their interest in taking part in the partial privatisation of London Underground.

The list of organisations features more than 20 construction companies, 17 banks, a handful of other rail operators and a smattering of lawyers, accountants, consulting engineers and even one advertising agency.

Precise details of how the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's "public- private partnership" for the Tube will operate are fuzzy. But Mr Prescott has pledged that it will bring in pounds 7bn of private capital to modernise the Underground over the next three years while retaining ownership and operation of the network in public hands.

The Government is anxious that the exercise does not turn into the kind of gravy train for the private sector that British Rail privatisation proved. Former BR managers made a killing from the sale of the rolling- stock leasing companies. Sandy Anderson, managing director of Porterbrook, made pounds 33m after the business was sold on to Stagecoach within months of privatisation for a pounds 400m profit. Andrew Jukes made pounds 15m from the sale of Eversholt to HSBC, while John Prideaux made a similar sum from the sale of Angel Train Contracts to Royal Bank of Scotland.

A report from the Commons Transport and Environment Select Committee yesterday drove the point home, urging ministers to avoid the "extravagance" of their predecessors in spending large sums on consultancy.

Under Mr Prescott's proposals, the Tube's infrastructure and responsibility for maintaining it will be handed over to up to three private sector consortia. They will be responsible for track maintenance, station refurbishment, replacing rolling stock and maintaining signalling systems.

In return for investing in the modernisation of the network, London Underground will pay them an annual rental. The infrastructure contracts are likely to last between 15 and 35 years, with review every 10 years. Freehold ownership of the assets will remain in the public sector and the leasehold interest will revert to the taxpayer at the end of the contract. Responsibility for operating the system will remain with the public sector.

Mr Prescott hopes that the public-private partnership will be up and running by spring 2000. The 100 or so organisations that have registered an interest will be whittled down through a process of "market sounding" over the next month.

Bidders will be invited to pre-qualify in November or December and invitations to tender sent to shortlisted bidders early next year. The aim to is sign concession contracts by April 2000.

Outlook, page 13

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments