Sir Peter Hendy, the Transport for London boss who called commuter trains "s**t", appointed to lead Network Rail as £35.8bn investment plan is delayed

Sarah Spickernell
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Hendy is taking over from Mark Carne (Source: Getty)

Network Rail has appointed Peter Hendy, the former Transport for London commissioner who only two months ago described commuter trains as "s**t" and "awful", as its chairman.

Read more: Network Rail is at crisis point and won't deliver the upgrades it promised

"On Southeastern, the trains are like the Wild West. They are s**t, awful. And then every now and then some people who look like the Gestapo get on and fine everyone they can. It doesn’t improve your day, does it?" he told Management Today.

But now it's time for him to put his money where his mouth is, after he was appointed to shake-up Network Rail - the body responsible for keeping the trains running on time.

In an announcement today, transport commissioner Patrick McLoughlin said much of Network Rail's £38.5bn investment plan to transform Britain's rail links will be delayed or completely scrapped.

Among projects to be "paused" include electrification work on the Midland mainline and on the Transpennine route between Leeds and Manchester.

The body is suffering severe funding gaps from overspending and cannot see through a number of projects it promised to deliver, he said.

In a statement, Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said:

During my first year in the job I have looked closely at every aspect of our business and it has become clear that Network Rail signed up to highly ambitious five-year targets set by the regulator.

I welcome the fact that the Transport Secretary has asked Sir Peter Hendy to work with me and my team to develop proposals for re-planning the programme over the next few months.

Carne has already agreed to forego his bonus for the year 2014-2015, but Network Rail announced today that none of its other executive directors will receive bonuses, either.

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