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Winsor slates Railtrack's belief it is 'the king'

RAILTRACK MUST instigate a culture change throughout the company and stop believing it is 'the king', rail regulator Tom Winsor said this week.

He also attacked former Railtrack chief executive Gerald Corbett, saying he had regarded regulation as a nuisance. He pointed out that the new board was being more positive.

Winsor was answering MPs' questions last week at a House of Commons transport select committee.

He said a culture change was required all the way through Railtrack, and described it as an 'enormous challenge'. It needed to realise that it was the train operating companies that financed the industry, he added.

'Running trains on Railtrack's track is a right not a privilege, ' he said.

Explaining that some operators are unhappy with the situation, Winsor said that freight operator EWS believed it should be given the right to maintain the network, as it had no confidence in Railtrack.

But he added: 'We have a structure and we'll have to live with it.'

Winsor said he did not believe it would be a good idea for the Government to take an equity stake in Railtrack. Proactive regulation, he felt, was better.

Since the Hatfield tragedy, Winsor said he had merely been keeping Railtrack 'under scrutiny' and not put it under any more pressure.

But he also explained that since this incident he always made sure that an engineer accompanied him to meetings to warn if 'I'm having the wool pulled over my eyes'.

Answering a question from the committee chair Gwyneth Dunwoody, Winsor denied that he 'talked hard and acted soft'. He added: 'Nor do I penalise if inappropriate. A beaten and humbled Railtrack is not in anyone's interest.'

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