Latest Rail News

17.02.14

Carne to take over ‘sooner rather than later’

Network Rail’s new chief executive, Mark Carne, is to take over earlier than planned. He will take up his role from Monday 24 February, in light of the disruption and damage caused by recent extreme weather.

Richard Parry-Jones, chairman, said: “With so much going on at the moment and the atrocious weather affecting our customers and testing the resilience of both our people and the network, Mark, David (Higgins) and I have discussed the matter and thought it best Mark get his feet under the table sooner rather than later.

“We have clear priorities; safely restoring services to normal, making our network more resilient and wisely spending and investing our £38bn funding package to make Britain’s railways better. We need to get going on this next chapter of our journey.”

Storms and flooding continue to disrupt the rail network, but the majority of services into and out of Paddington are planned to be restored today. Flooding at Maidenhead saw the signalling system reduced to 20% of normal service, but engineers have been working over the weekend to repair the system. First Great Western is also planning to run a near-normal service on routes into and out of London today.

Robin Gisby, Network Rail's managing director of operations said: “Passengers have been tremendously understanding during a period of extraordinary weather that has had a major impact on rail services in some areas. Services are returning to normal, but for some, especially in the far west where parts of the railway have been destroyed, it will be a number of weeks yet until we are able to offer the level and standard of service people have rightly come to expect.”

Last week, Cameron also announced a £31m scheme to improve the railway’s resilience to flooding. Network Rail will deliver ten projects: Cowley Bridge Junction; Chipping Sodbury; Hinksey; Whiteball Tunnel South; Athley – Cogload; Hele Bradninch; Flax Bourton; Patchway up Tunnel; and earthworks strengthening at Honiton and Crewkern.

Rainfall, river flow and groundwater monitoring will also be installed around Cowley Bridge Junction and Chipping Sodbury.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We are facing exceptional weather conditions right now. We’re working with transport operators to make sure everything that can be done to reduce the impact of the storms and floods on our transport system and speed up recovery is being done.

“We’re also determined to boost the resilience of the transport network against future severe weather. The funding the Prime Minister has announced today (12 February 2014), along with the other measures we are putting in place, will help make this happen.”

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