Network Rail's £14m fine will stand

RAIL regulators today confirmed the record penalty which was imposed on Network Rail for the engineering work overruns which caused travel chaos in the New Year.

RAIL regulators today confirmed the record penalty which was imposed on Network Rail for the engineering work overruns which caused travel chaos in the New Year.

Thousands of travellers, including commuters from Ipswich to London's Liverpool Street station, were hit by the delays which should have been completed before the end of the Christmas holiday.

NR wanted the fine to be set aside and suggested that instead the not-for-dividend company spend £14 million on a series of improvements.

But the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) said today that it remained convinced of "systemic weaknesses" in NR planning and execution of engineering work and that the penalty should stand.

ORR chief executive Bill Emery said: "The (ORR) board considered the representations very carefully.

"We remain convinced that the systemic weaknesses we have found in Network Rail's approach to the planning and execution of its engineering work are a serious and continuing breach of its licence, meriting a financial penalty.

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"We consider that to accept NR's proposal to mitigate the fine in its entirety would reduce the effectiveness of the incentive that penalties place on the company to secure compliance with its licence. We are therefore confirming the penalty of £14 million.'

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