Contractors are queuing up to bid for the sub-surface line work on the part-privatisation of London Underground, following news that Railtrack would no longer be bidding for the work.

Rod Hoare, chief executive of the Metronet consortium, said: “We are definitely interested in bidding for the sub-surface section and have made it known to those involved.”

Railtrack has written to LU saying it will not bid for the work. LU is aiming to publish details of the sub-surface work in the European Union’s Official Journal within a fortnight. A source close to LU said the bid documentation would be identical to that for deep Tube lines except for specific detail. The deadline for bids for sub-surface work is set to be July 2000.

Railtrack did have exclusive rights to bid for sub-surface work, but deputy prime minister John Prescott withdrew the option on Tuesday.