Watchdog rejects Railtrack switches
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Saturday 31 July 1999
The Rail Regulator Tom Winsor has written to the infrastructure company saying an attempt to stretch its commitment to meet a shortfall on its passenger delay targets from one year to two was "completely unacceptable".
Mr Winsor, who took over the post three weeks ago, accused the rail giant of reneging on commitments given on performance levels drawn up by the company itself.
"I remind you that these published targets are Railtrack's own targets," he wrote. "I also remind you that as late as January this year you confirmed your commitment to those targets.
"It cannot be right that an important public commitment of that nature by a regulated company should be subjected to amendment or withdrawal at the discretion of the company."
Railtrack had promised to cut the number of minutes of delay per train by 7.5 per cent a year for the next two years but only managed a reduction of 2 per cent for the last year.
Earlier this year, the Office of the Rail Regulator demanded that Railtrack make up the shortfall within 12 months. The company responded by offering to do so within three years.
A reply from the rail watchdog that this was unsatisfactory was met by an offer from Railtrack to make good the deficit "as soon as possible" with a commitment to complete the task within a maximum of two years.
This was today met with an unequivocal response from Mr Winsor, who has informed Railtrack he was passing a copy of his letter to the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
Mr Winsor said: "I have now reviewed all the papers relating to this subject and concluded that your proposal is completely unacceptable."
Among the options open to Mr Winsor will be punitive action against Railtrack. He added: "I will write to you shortly when I have made my decision on next steps."
Railtrack later said it was "disappointed" at the failure to meet its performance target and pledged to rectify the shortfall.
A spokeswoman added: "Improving performance remains Railtrack's key priority. We were disappointed in the figures last year and we are committed to making up as much as possible the shortfall in passenger train delays this year."
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Ed Miliband deemed less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson by official Doncaster power list
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
California teacher appears to have hanged herself in her classroom
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Ed Miliband deemed less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson by official Doncaster power list
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...