Network Rail boss fends off bonus issue after travel chaos prompts investigation

Cancelled services at King's Cross and Paddington stations caused massive overcrowding at the weekend

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Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne repeatedly refused to reveal whether he will take his bonus yesterday, as pressure mounts over the major disruption suffered by passengers as a result of over-running engineering work.

The Office of Rail Regulation began an investigation after the cancellation of services to and from two of London’s biggest railway stations, King’s Cross and Paddington, at the weekend, led to severely overcrowded platforms.

Speaking from his holiday in Truro, Mr Carne told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme: “When I took this job on, the potential bonus was 160 per cent of my salary. One of the first things I did was reduce it to 20 per cent – which is a maximum of £135,000.

He admitted: “This year our performances have failed to live up to the expectation of the public. I want to apologise unreservedly.”

His bonus would currently be 5 per cent of his £675,000 salary – around £33,750. He said it would be a “matter for [Network Rail’s] renumeration committee to consider at the appropriate time.”

Mr Carne said a comprehensive review was underway and he will make the findings public by the end of next week. “We should do an industry-wide review of the timing of these shutdowns to look at whether Christmas or Easter is the right time of year,” he added.

Elsewhere, the cold weather continued to grip the UK as freezing and foggy conditions pervaded on the first work day after Christmas for many.

A Met Office cold weather alert remains in place for the North  England and the Midlands until midday on Wednesday, with potential health risks for elderly people, the very young or those with pre-existing medical conditions.

In East Sussex, a driver died after his car left an icy road and hit a tree near Horam. Police said the local resident, who was driving a Land Rover Defender, was pronounced dead at 7am.

But some respite is on its way later this week, with warmer conditions and rain expected to signal the start of 2015.