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Murray first to fall in Railtrack shake-up

NEWS

RAILTRACK's head of major projects Simon Murray last week became the first casualty of the infrastructure operator's shakeup in the wake of the Hatfield rail crash.

More casualties are expected, with one supplier describing the boardroom as being like the 'Big Brother house, ' with everyone waiting to see who is next to go.

The word is that Murray, a senior fellow of the ICE, was pushed out, although the company issued a statement saying the decision was mutual.

Before the Hatfield crash last October Railtrack was committed to major investment, which Murray was brought in three years ago to oversee.

Since the crash, Railtrack has had to concentrate on maintenance and renewal to get rail infrastructure fit for purpose.

Railtrack has virtually abandoned plans for new projects, ceding responsibility for future schemes to the Strategic Rail Authority.

Railtrack chief executive Steve Marshall has taken control of the West Coast Main Line.

Robbie Burns, appointed as investment director less than a month ago, will take over any other projects. Burns was previously with the Royal Engineers.

Marshall takes over the WCML project just weeks after the announcement that costs had spiralled to £6.3bn, from an original estimate of £2.4bn Industry sources said this week that Murray has been made the fall guy for flushing out the true costs of the schemes.

But, they added, Marshall has now put himself firmly in the firing line if, as expected, there are further cost increases.

Railtrack has also confirmed that it wants to appoint 18 general managers with what a spokesman called 'engineering experience'.

The managers will operate regionally under a small top level management committee, as Railtrack scraps its present seven zone structure.

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