RAIL INDUSTRY experts this week urged the shadow Strategic Rail Authority to prevent the sale of eight sites and keep them available for future railway use.
The recently established Property Advisory Group made its recommendation after Rail Regulator Tom Winsor proposed changes to Railtrack's network license which would limit its freedom to dispose of land assets.
Winsor's proposals will mean that Railtrack will now have to get the regulator's approval before selling land. At present consent is only required if the disposal makes Railtrack unable to meet its current obligations. The regulator wants control over land that may be of future rail use.
The PAG was set up last month by the sSRA to review the value of Railtrack's stock of former British Railways Board land. The group will look at the potential for transport use over a 20 year period, taking predicted rail growth into account, and make recommendations to the sSRA executive board.
Tony Berkeley, an independent member of PAG, said it would end the nonsense of one part of the sSRA planning for massive growth, with the other being required to sell off holdings at the highest price.'
However, a spokesman for Railtrack dismissed the regulator's proposals as adding little. He maintained that Railtrack always consulted widely before any land was sold.