Posted 31st July 2007

Chiltern Railways is on the market

CHILTERN Railways is to be sold by construction giant John Laing.

Laing, the overall owner which was taken over by investment bank Hendersons earlier this year, has confirmed that it is in the early stages of preparing to sell its train operating interests.

As well as Chiltern Railways, these include the joint venture with MTR to run Transport for London's Over-ground concession which starts in November. KPMG Corporate Finance has been appointed as the lead advisor on the sale process.

The change is part of a restructuring of Laing to concentrate on regional and local authority-based procurement projects. John Laing Projects & Developments will remain a separate division looking at alternative methods of private sector participation in projects for the public sector and in rail infrastructure.

It is currently working on developments around stations such as High Wycombe.

Meanwhile, Tesco has come to an agreement with Chiltern Railways after the train operator lost millions of pounds in revenue following the Gerrards Cross tunnel collapse in 2005.

Tesco supermarket’s plan, which caused uproar in the Buckinghamshire town when it was approved in 1998, involved building a store on an artificial tunnel over the railway cutting. But the partially completed tunnel collapsed as trains from either direction were due to pass through, disrupting services for seven weeks.

In early July, John Laing and Tesco agreed a settlement for lost rail revenue and reports suggest it is in the order of tens of millions.

Despite continuing opposition, Tesco had since announced its intention to resume building the store using “a safe and workable solution”.