Profit at ‘insolvent’ Railtrack

Railtrack boss Steve Marshall used the news that the company made half-year pre-tax profits of £292m to renew his attack on transport secretary Stephen Byers, dismissing his claim that the rail infrastructure company was insolvent.

Last week, Steve Marshall was replaced at Railtrack plc by John Armitt, the former head of engineering company Costain, but remained as chief executive at the parent company, Railtrack Group.

Marshall said: ‘As we have said consistently, Railtrack was not insolvent until the Secretary of State chose to make it so.’

At the same time, Mike Grant, chief executive of the Strategic Rail Authority, became the latest casualty in the rail industry saga, departing abruptly from the authority following the appointment of Richard Bowker as the new chairman.

Bowker said he would be taking executive control at the authority.

Over the weekend Railtrack administrators Ernst & Young were reported to be preparing to bring in US project management giant Bechtel to help run the rail infrastructure.

The news was greeted with dismay among the senior management at the company, some of whom threatened to resign if the US company were appointed.


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