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Monday, 5 August, 2002, 06:28 GMT 07:28 UK
Railtrack in 'consultancy spending spree'
Train
Railtrack has been replaced by Network Rail
Railtrack, the collapsed UK railway company, spent about 10% of its budget on consultancy fees last year, according to press reports.

The company, which was forced into administration by the government last October, paid out between 225m and 350m to outside experts, the Financial Times reported.

The bulk of the cash is thought to have gone to former railway workers who were re-hired on external contracts as project managers and engineering experts, the FT said.

Railtrack declined to comment on the figures, but the FT cited rail industry sources as saying that the total figure included 20m in audit and legal fees.

Loss-makers

The report is likely to stoke investor anger over Railtrack's demise, which left many of the company's shareholders out of pocket.

Former transport secretary Stephen Byers put Railtrack into administration last October after it emerged that the company was running out of cash.

The move infuriated Railtrack shareholders, who argued the company's underlying performance was solid.

Most shareholders have since accepted a government compensation offer worth 2.55 per share - down from their peak value of about 17.

Railtrack, which owned and maintained the UK's rail and track infrastructure, is to be replaced by the not-for-profit company Network Rail.


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