Horton put on the spot as Railtrack investors question safety standards

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Railtrack came under pressure yesterday from investors at its maiden annual general meeting over the company's failure to spend the planned amount on its Asset Maintenance Plan, writes Christian Wolmar.

Jonathan Bray, a shareholder and a member of the Save our Railways pressure group, quizzed Bob Horton, chairman (pictured), over why Railtrack spent pounds 333m instead of a planned pounds 483m in 1994/95 and pounds 386m instead of pounds 503m last year.

The reason, Mr Horton said, was because Railtrack was in a transitional state following privatisation, being unable to borrow money or to get the cash from the Treasury.

Shareholders at the Barbican Centre in London were told that Railtrack's performance on safety had improved, but it was unable to give answers to questions on whether the number of potentially dangerous incidents had gone up or down in the past year.

Photograph: Edward Sykes