Network Rail to sell off 18 of the UK's biggest train stations

Bankers hired to look at options for Waterloo, Reading and Leeds

London Waterloo railway station, London, England

Network Rail is planning to sell off 18 major train stations, including Waterloo, Leeds and Reading, according to an Independent on Sunday report.

It is preparing to sell to developers and retail landlords in an attempt to cut its £50bn debt.

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Citigroup bankers have been hired to look at options for the 18 stations, which includes offering concessions in stations to major firms.

A Network Rail source told the Independent on Sunday that it "could be just the retail" or "it could be a concession option".

The source added: "The point is there are lots of possibilities. Citi is testing the market so there will be lots of opinions out there and none of them right, as our board will make that decision some months down the line from now."

Network Rail moved from being a semi-autonomous body to a formal part of government in 2014. It runs 20,000 miles of track and 40,000 bridges and tunnels.

The government is also looking at raising funds from unusual spaces owned by Network Rail, such as renting out the spaces under railway arches to restaurants.

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