Network Rail’s new broom Mark Carne vows to sweep away bonus culture

Mark Carne makes pledge as he unveils detailed plans for £38bn outlay on network

The new chief executive of Network Rail has pledged that his senior staff will be “well-paid but not overpaid”, in the wake of outcry over bonuses at the taxpayer-backed operator of Britain’s rail infrastructure.

Mark Carne made the vow to The Independent ahead of today’s launch of detailed investment plans for a £38bn revamp of the railways from this year to 2019. Already, more than 1.5 billion passenger journeys take place by rail each year and in five years’ time trains will carry more people than at any time in British history.

The Thameslink programme running 24 trains an hour through London and 850 miles of rail electrification from Maidenhead to Swansea and Sheffield to Bedford will be part of a £12bn capital expenditure programme. On top of that, £13bn will be poured into replacing and renewing older parts of the network, such as refurbishing nearly 6,000 sets of points.

Mr Carne, a former executive at Royal Dutch Shell, succeeded Sir David Higgins this year in difficult circumstances. Network Rail is facing its biggest regulatory fine – around £70m – as one in 10 trains are failing to get to stations within 10 minutes of their set arrival time, when the target is 92.5 per cent.

This will heap even more pressure on Network Rail’s bonus culture which has been heavily criticised over the years. Sir David was subject to media ridicule for receiving a bonus just shy of £100,000 last year, even though he made great strides in commercialising the business, while a predecessor, Iain Coucher, received more than his £613,000 basic salary in add-ons in 2010.

Mr Carne said that he is preparing to take executive pay proposals to Network Rail’s annual meeting in July, but hinted at a crack-down on the bonus culture as “we need to ensure that we hire good people who are well-paid, not over-paid”. Sources confirmed there will be a “significant” hit on bonuses from 2014-15.

The organisation’s hefty debt burden – expected to be nearly £50bn in 2019 – is guaranteed by the Government, while 30-50 “ members”, who are drawn from the public to hold the group to account, will vote on any proposals at the meeting.

Mr Carne has ordered the managers of the 10 major routes that make up the rail network to have developed climate change strategies in the wake of the extreme winter weather that saw the Dawlish sea wall collapse under the railway line. That part of the railway, which is between Exeter and Cornwall, is due to reconnected to the network on Friday.

He added: “Coastal damage this year has been particularly destructive and the South-west took a pasting. But we have to take a good look at the whole network.”

Richard Price, chief executive of the Office of Rail Regulation, warned that he “will be scrutinising progress  … [on] improving train punctuality, enhancing the resilience of our rail network to severe weather, closing level crossings and increasing workforce safety are effectively delivered”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Analyst

Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...

Sheridan Maine: Financial Accountant

£150 - £190 Daily Rate: Sheridan Maine: One of London's leading water supplier...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor