News broke yesterday that Network Rail's (NR) chief executive Iain Coucher is to step down from the post he's held for three years. Coucher, who had been with NR for 8 years in total, was latterly seen as one of the main protagonists for NR's bureaucracy overload, was recently heralded as one of the highest-paid civil servants in the land, receiving a combined annual salary and bonuses of £1.24 million.
We wonder if his successor will be availed of a similar salary? The DfT goes to reasonable lengths to remind us that NR is a self-contained, arms length, not-for-profit organisation that it has very little to do with, yet includes the savings NR will make as part of its £680 million cost-cutting measure. With talk of all NR Board's bonuses being withheld each and every year a member of its 35,000-strong workforce is killed in an industrial accident, further savings could be made here - and will be reflected in the chief exec's salary, too.
Now the bitter
As part of the austerity measures - specifically the DfT not wanting to spend lots of money on new trains, as had been promised by Lord Adonis - Lincoln, in the heart of the LEYTR area, will not now receive its two-hourly direct train service with London, following news that it's been effectively dropped. One direct train will operate to/from Lincoln-London each day, with resource found within East Coast's (EC) existing fleet. This will save an estimated £9mil a year on top of the price tag for five brand new Class 180 'Adelantes'.
It was interesting to note the press release referred to there being two direct Lincoln-London services from May 2011: one the new EC route, the other the existing East Midlands Trains service that takes longer than changing trains at Newark!
And a cynic would cite it as more than just a coincidence that Stagecoach in Lincolnshire has only last week commenced a new direct Newark North Gate-Lincoln City Centre bus service.....