Network Rail AGM sets sights on better value railway for Britain

Network Rail AGM sets sights on better value railway for Britain

Network Rail’s 11th annual general meeting has taken place today in Cardiff, at which chief executive David Higgins set out the progress made by the company in improving Britain’s railways over the past year. Highlights include:

*  Passenger satisfaction reached a record high – 85%
*  Passenger numbers reached 1.5bn for the first time since the 1920s
*  95% of passengers felt that rail travel during the Olympics had exceeded or met their expectations
*  £4.4bn worth of work on almost 2,000 projects aimed at improving and expanding the railway was completed
*  More than 200 bridges were renewed and rebuilt
*  940 miles of track was replaced
*  Almost 91% of trains for the 12 months ran to time – the third best year on record although below the regulatory target

Britain was recognised by the European Commission as the EU’s most improved railway over the last 15 years
Also on the agenda were proposals for a new long-term incentive scheme for Network Rail executive directors, which would recognise outstanding and exceptional performance in building a bigger, better value railway. The proposal was approved by 86% of Network Rail’s members* – the company’s equivalent to shareholders whose job is to hold the board to account. It was one of 22 resolutions put before them for approval at today’s meeting.

The new scheme recognises outstanding and exceptional performance over the three years to 2015, with any future awards measured against train performance, savings made for the taxpayer and the successful delivery of congestion easing projects.

The scheme was informed by discussions with members at a series of meetings and workshops. Network Rail is required to have a long-term incentive scheme in place as a regulatory licence condition and the Office of Rail Regulation has confirmed that it meets those conditions.

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Network Rail chairman, Richard Parry-Jones, said: “Network Rail has had another solid year of progress and we intend to continue on this path. As our annual bonus announcement earlier this year clearly demonstrated, Network Rail senior executives are rewarded only when exceptional performance exceeds tough targets which have been approved by our members through an open and transparent process. If targets are not met, or safety compromised, no bonuses are paid.

“Discussions with our members and stakeholders and feedback from customers highlight their concerns about the cost of operating Britain’s railways and the cost of fares. These rank as highly in their minds as the punctuality of the train service. The proposed new long-term incentive scheme addressed these concerns, with a focus on safely bringing down the cost of the railway while building capacity for the future.”