Network Rail and the government hit back at an MPs’ report yesterday that identified “a catalogue of failings” on Britain’s rail system.
The Commons Transport Committee said that despite bonuses of over £200,000 given to three Network Rail directors, passengers were “inconvenienced and humiliated” by three major engineering overruns at the New Year.
But Network Rail chief executive Iain Coucher said the report did not reflect the “pivotal role” the group played in improving the railways.
A spokesman for the Department of Transport backed Network Rail and added: “We are targeting £10bn to bring about the single biggest increase in capacity for a generation, and Network Rail are looking at long term options including electrification and new lines.”
Rail passengers were delayed by the engineering overruns at Rugby, at Liverpool Street station in London and at Glasgow Shields Junction last Christmas.
The Committee said the delays by the body that oversees the maintenance of the country’s rail network had “laid bare an entire catalogue of management failings for all to see.”
Should the Network Rail bosses have received bonuses this year?
John Petero (Hurley Palmer Flatt): “I think if executives don’t hit their targets, they shouldn’t get a bonus – that’s how it works in any other industry. Network Rail missed its deadlines at New Year, so its bosses shouldn’t have received their full bonus. It’s lucky for them, being in the right place at the right time, but it doesn’t send the right message to the public.”
Ed Waddingham (Barnett Waddingham): “I’d have to know how high their bonuses were last year, but several hundred thousand pounds does seem excessive. Network Rail is delivering a public service, so the public should be able to rely on it, and the New Year delays should be taken into account when determining the bonuses – they don’t look good for performance.”
Sarah Darragh (Works for a large foreign bank): “I think they should have received around half of their planned bonus. The company is doing well generally, so the bosses do deserve to be compensated, but the New Year fiasco should also have an impact. This sends a message that they don’t care about what happened, that they still think they’re doing well and can get away with it.”