Management & Operations

Railtrack closed, new rail chief appointed

Posted on August 1, 2001

Government-appointed administrators took control of England's Railtrack in October after the company refused additional subsidies. At the same time, Railtrack Chief Executive Steve Marshall resigned after accusing the government of breaking its promises to the company, which was set up in 1994 to run the country's 20,000 miles of railway track. "Government’s treatment of my company, and its shareholders, has been shoddy and unacceptable. Commitments, whether financial or otherwise, are made to be kept, not broken," Marshall said in a statement. Transportation officials agreed to use $537 million in frozen Railtrack assets to compensate shareholders. That amounts to $1.02 a share to be paid in cash when a new, non-profit company is formed to run the rail network. Formulation of a new company could take up to six months. To lead that new company, Richard Bowker was appointed chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA). Bowker, co-chairman of Virgin Rail, will oversee the publication of the SRA’s strategic plan for the railways. He replaces Sir Alastair Morton, who left following the collapse of Railtrack.

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