Watchdog rejects Railtrack switches

THE RAIL watchdog yesterday criticised Railtrack for trying to change its own targets for improving poor performance.

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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk