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Nine Network Rail staff paid over £250,000 a year

Nine members of permanent Network Rail staff were paid in excess of £250,000 per year in 2013/14, up from six in the previous financial year.

The rail operator also revealed that more than 200 people had an annual salary in excess of £100,000, up from 185.

Temporary workers were also well-rewarded, with 13 being paid more than £1,000 each per day during the last financial year.

They were among 919 temporary workers brought in by Network Rail over the course of the year across four departments: corporate functions; network operations; asset management; and infrastructure projects.

Network Rail spent almost £97M on overtime during the year. Almost half of this went on network operations on the London North East and London North West routes. 

The organisation also spent more than £25M in little over six months on external consultants, the material released as part of a refresh of its transparency data revealed.

Between mid-September 2013 and the end of March 2014, Network Rail shelled out £10M on programme delivery advice, as well as £4M each on business change consultancy, freight consultancy and functional specialism.

Carillion was Network Rail’s most-used contractor in the most recent financial year.

The Wolverhampton-based company was paid £281M by the rail infrastructure operator in 2013/14.

Babcock Rail earned £220M over the same period, with Bam Nuttall close behind on £209M.

The trio of contractors accounted for a tenth of Network Rail’s spending on suppliers, with only electricity provider EDF Energy being paid more.

Costain, which was top of the contractor spending table in the previous financial year, was fourth this time round, despite its income from the client soaring from £184M to £203M.

Suppliers were paid in an average of 40 days during the four-week snapshot published from the 2013/14 financial year. About 12% of invoices were paid outside of stated terms, the data revealed.

The documents also showed a £60M hike in the anticipated cost of four major projects in the UK.

The Borders Railway enhancement scheme is now expected to cost £328M, up from £317M last quarter.

A major scheme in Reading has soared to £967M from £940M in the same timescale.

Elsewhere, signalling schemes in East Kent and North Lincolnshire increased by £10M and £12M respectively.

None of the published projects decreased in anticipated final cost, although 13 stayed the same.

Mark Farrow, head of transparency for Network Rail, said: “We’re continuing to publish more data as part of our commitment to being more open and transparent about what we do and the way we do it.”

Half of 1,000 people in a recent poll were unsure whether Network Rail was a transparent organisation, although a third said it was.

Farrow said: “This puts us ahead of other large organisations and companies in Britain, but also means we’ve got more work to do to showcase how we are responsibly investing public money to improve a vital public service.”

David Sidebottom, passenger director of Passenger Focus, said: “We welcome Network Rail’s continued commitment to greater transparency.

“Providing relevant, easily digestible information to passengers can help to build trust and confidence. Our recent research on passengers’ views of the railway industry identified that honest, open and transparent communication builds trust in train companies.” ENDS (550 words)

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