Rail staff 'have been spat upon'

RAIL INDUSTRY Anger over infrastructure firm's growing revenue and its refusal to spend more cash on safety investment
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The Independent Online
RAILTRACK STAFF have been spat at, called murderers and attacked with bricks since the Paddington rail crash in which 31 people died, the company's chief executive disclosed yesterday.

Gerald Corbett, who has rejected calls to resign, blamed the hostility on the "continual public battering" that Railtrack has received at the hands of the press, lobby groups and some politicians.

However, he said Railtrack staff had rallied round in the face of adversity and some "quite ghastly treatment". "There is a tremendous Churchill spirit in the signal boxes," he added.

Mr Corbett said: "Signallers have been spat at and bricks have been thrown in their boxes and people wearing yellow Railtrack jackets have been shouted at and called 'murderer'."

He conceded that he was partly to blame for the company's poor public image because of his "combative" attitude after the crash. We know we are one of the most unpopular companies and that is down to the way we have presented ourselves," said Mr Corbett. "To regain public confidence we have to conduct ourselves differently.

"In hindsight, we have not stressed our public service duty enough, we have used the wrong language and not been humble enough."