So, Network Rail is aiming to increase private investment. Good news. The UK railway estate is large and ripe with opportunity. But practically, what are these changes likely to mean for investors and developers? 

Firstly, rail property is and remains heavily regulated. Development and investment will be subject to statutory change and closure. Other property legislation including planning law and the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 is amended for rail property. These are all unamended by the announcement.

Then there is the complex web of contractual and regulatory relationships. These exist between DfT, ORR, Network Rail, operators, stakeholders and other third parties. Essentially, they provide the framework to (1) manage performance of the network, (2) protect health and safety and (3) manage financial risk. 

Finally, any third party investor needs to navigate their way through Network Rail's asset protection regime. Hopefully the reforms will make improvements in this area and Network Rail's new positive attitude is welcome but for the uninitiated the railways still require a considered approach and careful understanding.