Yet another reason to concrete over the railways
Network Rail, created by the Government in 2002 to replace Railtrack, last year paid its four executive directors a total of £3.3 million in salaries, bonuses, pension contributions and “long-term incentive payments”. It says that it is a private-sector company competing for the best business brains with the likes of Shell and BP. But Network Rail has a monopoly over rail infrastructure and its £18 billion debt is underwritten by the Government. John Armitt, the chief executive, never has to worry about going bust or losing market share to a rival.
Network Rail argues that other rail industry leaders took home even more. But Brian Souter at Stagecoach (£1.1 million plus pension) and Phil White at National Express (£1.5 million plus pension) both had to compete in a fiercely competitive market to run train franchises.
They are also held to account by shareholders while Network Rail is answerable only to a few dozen rail enthusiasts who can do nothing but ask one or two awkward questions.