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HS1 boss asked to advise on Network Rail future

The government has brought in High Speed 1 chief executive Nicola Shaw to advise on the future of Network Rail as it unveiled a package of measures to manage the troubled firm.

Documents released alongside chancellor George Osborne’s emergency Budget today revealed that Shaw had been asked to report on how the under-fire rail infrastructure operator should look.

It was revealed last month that Network Rail’s top bosses would not receive bonuses for last financial year after a debacle that has seen performance targets missed, punctuality slip and major works suspended.

Shaw – head of the body that operates and maintains the rapid link from London to the Channel Tunnel – will work with new Network Rail chairman and former London transport commissioner Peter Hendy on a report that will go to government next year.

The Budget document said: “The government has asked Nicola Shaw to advise the government on how it should approach the longer-term future shape and financing of Network Rail.”

It added: “The government has committed to upgrading the railway and bringing this largely Victorian asset into the 21st century, including by spending £38bn on the railways over the five years to 2019.

“As problems at Network Rail have become clear, the government has acted to put the rail investment programme back on track.”

It said this included:

  • Appointing Hendy as chairman of Network Rail and asking him to “do what is necessary to ensure Network Rail can deliver effectively and operate the railways safely”
  • Asking Hendy to report by autumn 2015 with a plan to get the rail investment programme “back onto a sustainable footing”.
  • Planning to improve incentives and drive improvements in Network Rail and the wider rail industry Asking Hendy and Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne to continue with the work started in Network Rail to devolve more power to route managers closer to the front line 
  • Changing the way the government channels public money through the industry, directing it through the train operating companies, so that Network Rail focuses firmly on the needs of train operators
  • ·        Asking Shaw and Hendy for their report into the future shape of Network Rail, to be concluded before Budget 2016

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