New Network Rail boss Mark Carne hits train delay en route to grilling by politicians over high costs
Mr Carne said that last year 1.6 billion people travelled by rail in Britain, double the number that travelled during 1995-6
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Monday 09 June 2014
Network Rail’s incoming chief executive has conceded that his organisation’s costs are too high, and has vowed to reduce them.
Mark Carne, who has taken over from Sir David Higgins, was making his first appearance in front of the Transport Select Committee. He said: “Ticket prices are a major concern for passengers. Our costs are a major part of that and we need to drive them down.”
On his way to his grilling by politicians, Mr Carne encountered the sort of problems every commuter faces: “I had to stand on a train this morning because it was delayed. The lack of capacity we have on the railway today creates a very unacceptable experience.”
Mr Carne said that last year 1.6 billion people travelled by rail in Britain. The last time that number of passengers was achieved was in the 1920s. Passenger numbers hit a low of 750m in 1995-96. “In the last 18 years, that has more than doubled.”
He said that changing lifestyle patterns had drastically altered train use: “Trains which used to leave Waterloo at 11pm with three people on board are now absolutely packed.”
Passengers will have to get used to significant station shut-downs for engineering works, such as last year’s six-week closure of Nottingham station. “Stop-start working in the middle of the night is very inefficient,” he said.
Mr Carne said that his first priority was safety, but that reliability is also a concern. “We know that we didn’t do enough in CP4 [Control Period 4, from 2009-14] to deliver the reliability passengers expect,” he said,
“We didn’t make the improvements in the underlying reliability that we said we would.”
He said train operating companies are responsible for about a third of delays, but added: “There are many conflicts built into the timetable.”
“There are a million more trains running on the railway than 10 years ago. When you do have a problem, the back-up of that problem is much, much greater and it takes you longer to recover.”
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
- 5 Cocaine and cannabis haul hidden in Vatican car seized by French police
Scottish independence referendum live - The reunited kingdom: Scotland gives a clear 'No' to independence in historic referendum
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...