Railtrack chief quits

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The Independent Online

The chief executive of Railtrack, Gerald Corbett, has resigned after three years with the company during which there have been rail disasters at Paddington, Southall and Hatfield.

The chief executive of Railtrack, Gerald Corbett, has resigned after three years with the company during which there have been rail disasters at Paddington, Southall and Hatfield.

The Railtrack board accepted his resignation 'with regret' and announced that Steven Marshall, currently finance director, has taken over with immediate effect.

The board agreed that, Mr Corbett having having put in place a national recovery plan after the Hatfield crash, the time was right for someone fresh to lead the company forward.

Mr Corbett initially offered to step down immediately in the wake of the Hatfield crash, which was blamed on a broken rail, but this was not then accepted. A huge repair programme in the wake of safety checks has brought chaos to trains nationwide.

Speaking outside Railtrack's London Headquarters today, Mr Corbett, who was paid £377,000 last year, said: "In the last few weeks my own profile has been far too high for my own good, my family's good and also for the company's good.

"It is quite right that the company should now look forward and draw a line in the sand."

Mr Corbett said that the question of his resignation had not come up at yesterday's rail summit with the Prime Minister at Downing Street and neither had the Prime Minister nor Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott been involved in any discussions with him about the resignation.

Looking relaxed and with his hands in his pockets, Mr Corbett said that he had been able to present a recovery plan to Mr Blair and that he (Mr Corbett) was now "confident that Railtrack will deliver it."

He went on: "My job has been done."

Mr Corbett said that his resignation was for personal reasons and he was now looking forward to going on holiday to India, spending time with his family and perhaps trying to lose a little bit of weight.

He said that he had felt no pressure to resign but it was now time to leave.

He said: "It is a demanding job, an important job and it has been a privilege to do it for three years.

"We have improved our performance and improved trains since Ladbroke Grove.

"It's been an exciting three years and it's now time for me to exit stage left and hand over to Steve."

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