Chairman warns executives that Network Rail has to reform

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Rick Haythornthwaite, the chairman of Network Rail, has again warned senior management that the business must reform as government pressure on the rail infrastructure operator intensifies.

It is understood that Mr Haythornthwaite told executives and senior staff at a board meeting in Cardiff earlier this month that Network Rail needs to focus on improving its service to train operators and passengers. There have been criticisms that Network Rail, which is funded by the taxpayer, acts in a monopolistic fashion. Mr Haythornthwaite is thought to want a more collegiate atmosphere among the leadership team.

The Coalition is frustrated by Network Rail's performance, which has come under fire for giving executives lucrative bonuses and allegations about the expenses of its outgoing chief executive, Iain Coucher.

A source close to the Coalition said: "It's perfectly plain that the Government is putting pressure on individuals and they know what it means for them personally if the organisation doesn't change."

Mr Haythornthwaite told members last week that Network Rail is reviewing its safety practices .