Record £14m fine for Network Rail

Rail infrastructure company Network Rail (NR) was today fined a record £14m following serious engineering work overruns over the New Year.









The fine was imposed by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) which had been investigating the overruns, the most serious of which was on the West Coast Main Line.



The ORR decision comes on the day that NR chairman Sir Ian McAllister, who stayed at home during the overrun crisis saying he would only get in the way if he went into work, is officially knighted at Buckingham Palace.









The ORR said the fine was "to reflect the serious nature of this breach, the impact it had already had on passengers and rail freight users and the need for the company to take urgent action to improve its approach".



The ORR also ordered NR to "remedy systematic weaknesses in its planning and management of engineering projects and in its communication with train operators about progress with such projects".



In addition, ORR also ordered NR to provide a clear plan of how it intends to complete the upgrade of the West Coast Main Line, currently due to be completed by December.









NR has already announced that the West Coast Main Line (WCML) will face further closures over Easter as engineering work continues.



According to the BBC, the line will also have to close at some weekends away from bank holidays during the summer as the work is running late.



The WCML work which overran at the New Year was at Rugby in the West Midlands. The work had to go on for four extra days with thousands of passengers having to take coaches between Northampton and Birmingham as the line was shut.



The other overruns which hit passengers over the festive period were at London's Liverpool Street station and at Shields Junction near Glasgow.



ORR chief executive Bill Emery said: "What happened over the New Year was totally unacceptable for passengers and freight customers, and to train operating companies. The weakness in NR's management of these projects had a serious impact on all of them and on the reputation of the railway.



"It is quite clear from our thorough investigation that NR is failing to manage major engineering work as consistently well as it should. This is due particularly to weaknesses in the company's planning, risk assessment and site management of projects as well as to failures of communication within the company and with train operators. We have published a draft Order directing them to address these failings and thus reduce the risk of similar events in the future."



He went on: "It is right that we should also impose a fine to mark the seriousness of this breach of NR's licence and to send a clear message to the company's board and senior management that it needs to address the weaknesses we have identified as a matter of urgency.



"Given the scale of the investment programme on the rail network, improved project planning and management will bring real benefits to NR's customers in terms of improved capacity, performance and value for money.



"In addition, the company has accepted that it does not currently have a robust plan, agreed with operators, to deliver the upgrade work to the WCML needed for the December 2008 service improvements. We have therefore ordered it to produce quickly a plan on how it will do this."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones