Network Rail's clean-up operation following the Grayrigg disaster has tarnished an otherwise positive set of annual results.
The track operator has punctuality levels of 88.1%, the highest for eight years. Punctuality was at 78.6% when Network Rail took over the running of the rail network in 2002. It also made a profit after tax of £1bn which it will reinvest.Delays were static, at 10.5M minutes for the year. Delays due to faults were down, but delays due to the weather and other external factors were up, cancelling the improvement.'More trains are arriving on time than at any point over the past seven and a half years and costs continue to be driven downward. The rail network is also benefiting from record investment to meet the growing demands of passengers and freight users,' said NR's chairman Ian McAllister.But he said 'we cannot look back on the year and not remember the tragedy at Grayrigg in Cumbria in February. The company has accepted full responsibility and I would like to reiterate the chief executive's apology to those affected,' said McAllister.'Every single employee at Network Rail has paid a personal price for the Grayrigg derailment. This is as it should be in an organisation that has taken responsibility for such a tragedy,' he said. Bonuses for senior executives have been cut by 63% compared to last year, partly due to the costs for the rebuild at Grayrigg following the accident in February.