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Network Rail sells railway arches for?1.5bn

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Network Rail's properties house a broad variety of businesses
Network Rail is selling its commercial property portfolio in a deal that will raise
"We... dispute whether selling off the whole estate in one job lot is the best way of supporting small businesses and the local economies which rely on them," a Guardian of the Arches spokesperson said. The UK's railway arches are home to a wide range of businesses including furniture restorers, metal-shop workers, cafe owners, hairdressers, micro-breweries, galleries, gyms and motorbike repair shops.Network Rail said the new owners, property investors Telereal Trillium and private equity group Blackstone, would adopt a "tenants first" approach, established through a tenants' charter, which would ensure the new owners engaged with tenants and local communities "in an open and honest manner".Network Rail, under pressure to upgrade its infrastructure, especially commuter rail lines into London, announced last November that it planned to sell the portfolio. Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Network Rail chairman, said: "This deal is great news. For tenants it will mean significant commitment and investment, and for passengers and taxpayers it will mean massive, essential improvements without an extra burden on the public purse."Network Rail Property's managing director, David Biggs, added that while they were proud to have fostered diverse businesses and communities, ultimately managing such properties was not "essential" to improving the railway infrastructure. "The new owners will invest in and grow the estate, and we can focus on our core business of running the railway," he said.
Network Rail
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