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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Network Rail bonuses cut by crash
The train crash in Cumbria
A Virgin tilting train crashed in Cumbria on 23 February
Rail infrastructure operator Network Rail has cut its staff bonuses following February's Grayrigg derailment in which one passenger died.

"Every single employee at Network Rail has paid a personal price for the Grayrigg derailment," its chairman Ian McAllister said.

Senior executives' bonuses have been cut by an extra 15%.

A Virgin Pendolino tilting train from London to Glasgow crashed in Cumbria on 23 February.

Network Rail has apologised for the accident and said it is still trying identify the causes of the derailment, which killed an elderly woman and left several other people seriously injured.

Network Rail's annual staff bonuses depend on the company meeting certain targets, including safety.

Punctuality improved

Last year, the total bonus pot was 30m with everyone in the company receiving at least 900.

This year that has been reduced to 10m with a minimum level of 400.

Annual bonuses for senior executives have been boosted by a three-year rolling incentive scheme with separate targets.

It would have been more dignified for Network Rail directors to take a much lower bonus, if they took one at all.
Nina Bawden, widow of Potters Bar crash victim

That means that while chief executive John Armitt has had his annual bonus cut to 88,740 from last year's 240,408, he has received 112,320 for meeting targets on cost-cutting and punctuality.

Network Rail says that train punctuality is at its highest level since 1999, with 88.1% of trains arriving on time.

"More respectful"

Some people think that Network Rail executives have still received excessive bonuses for a year in which there has been a fatal crash.

Nina Bawden, whose husband Austen Kark was killed in the 2002 Potters Bar rail crash, said:

"It would have been more dignified for Network Rail directors to take a much lower bonus, if they took one at all."

"It would also have been more respectful to those killed, injured and bereaved by rail crashes," she added.

But Mr McAllister said the railway network was safer now than it had ever been.

The announcement of bonus levels came with the release of results for the not-for-dividend company.

It made a 1.48bn profit before tax for the year to the end of March, compared with a 232m loss the previous year.

Network Rail said the profit had already been used to help fund its 3.3bn investment programme.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Network Rail chairman on profit and bonuses



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24 May 07 |  Business

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