Network Rail chief executive on track for bumper pay package as profit rises but train punctuality falls

Rebecca Smith
Network Rail spent £3.9bn on railway improvements last year
Network Rail spent £3.9bn on railway improvements last year (Source: Network Rail)

Network Rail’s top bosses are lined up for bumper pay packages this year, as the rail infrastructure group posted a rise in profit – but a fall in punctuality.

Chief executive Mark Carne takes home £820,000 for the 2016/17 year according to Network Rail’s annual report published yesterday, up from £811,000 last year, with a salary of £683,000 compared to £675,000 for this time last year. He'll receive £50,000 from the annual incentive plan.

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Chief financial officer Jeremy Westlake gets a pay package of £425,000, with a salary of £354,000, and receives £26,000 thanks to the incentive plan.

Network Rail’s annual pre-tax profit has risen 17.5 per cent to £483m for the year ended 31 March, while revenue rose from £6.1bn to £6.3bn.

Westlake said “every penny generated by the operating surplus was reinvested” in delivering the hefty railway upgrade plan Network Rail is in the midst of, and said over the next two years there will be “significant declines in profitability”.

Network Rail owns the UK’s stations and track on which rail operators rely on for their service, and last year spent £3.9bn on railway improvements - 10 per cent more than in any previous year.

The performance related pay element of remuneration for the Network Rail execs is determined by the outcome of the business scorecard, with the rail group acknowledging underperformance here, with a slew of measures coming in under its “worse than target” threshold, particularly in areas covering train punctuality and financial performance.

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Network Rail said to reflect the “significant financial underperformance a downward adjustment was made”, with executive directors getting 7.4 per cent of the maximum 20 per cent of salary opportunity.

While infrastructure reliability and performance improved, in terms of train performance, the percentage of passenger trains arriving on time dipped from 89.1 per cent this time last year to 87.6 per cent.

Network Rail also said it missed its public performance measure target: the percentage of all passenger train journeys that arrive on time. “Only seven of the 24 train operating companies achieved the target PPM, resulting in a national score of 19.5 per cent against a target of 50 per cent,” Network Rail said.

Cancellations and significantly late trains were also worse than expected.

For financial performance, measuring how Network Rail performs against its income, operational expenditure and renewals expenditure budgets, it failed to meet the target, ending the year at -£172m against a target of £0.

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