Report due on rail work overruns

Published: Monday 12th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Network Rail (NR) is today publishing a report following its inquiry into Christmas engineering work overruns which led to chaotic scenes at three London stations.

King’s Cross station had to close all day on Saturday December 27 while nearby Finsbury Park station became so crowded that it too had to shut for a time.

Paddington station should have opened at 7am on December 27 but was shut until 1.14pm after engineering work at nearby Old Oak Common overran.

The overruns put under the spotlight the salary levels and performance-related bonuses of NR top bosses, with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin describing the problems on December 27 as “totally unacceptable”.

Later, NR chief executive Mark Carne announced that he would not be taking his 2014/15 annual bonus which could have been as high as £135,000.

The NR internal inquiry has been led by the company’s infrastructure projects managing director Dr Francis Paonessa.

The work near King’s Cross was at Holloway in north London and was being carried out by a team from NR and engineering company Amey.

It involved work on track and points renewal and should have been completed in time for the start of operations to and from King’s Cross on the morning of December 27. It was not until the following day that King’s Cross was able to open.

The work at Old Oak Common in north west London was a signalling contract carried out by contractors Signalling Solutions Ltd.

The physical work on this contract was completed in the early hours of December 27 but paperwork hold-ups meant a delay in being able to open Paddington.

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is also holding an inquiry into the overruns. ORR chief executive Richard Price will give evidence on the overruns to the House of Commons Transport Committee on Wednesday.

Also appearing before the committee will be Mr Carne and NR’s network operations managing director Robin Gisby.

Published: Monday 12th January 2015 by The News Editor

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