E&Y praised for running Railtrack

The praise for the administrators from Ernst & Young followed transport secretary Stephen Byers’ statement to the House of Commons on the future of the rail network yesterday.

Speaking later on Channel Four television TAO chairman George Muir said: ‘To some extent some decisions have speeded up since Ernst & Young have been appointed.

‘We have been watching very closely to see whether anything that should be done hasn’t been done and we have not found anything.’

Muir added: ‘There were a lot of tensions before, but since Ernst & Young has been appointed our members are telling us that decisions are being made and that there is money available to spend on the essential safety work that is necessary.

‘At the moment the trains are running reasonably well.’

The TAO chairman said during the last few months leading up to administration there had been tensions in relations with Railtrack about future investments – though not on day to day matters on which Railtrack had been ‘very good at spending what had to be spent on removing speed restrictions and on safety work’.

He said much of this year’s Pounds 1.75bn losses were due to money spent on the track.

Earlier Byers insisted that discussions with Railtrack had continued until 3 June. He told MPs: ‘No way out of the dilemma could be found: either we gave the guarantee on money or the company became insolvent.

‘I decided I could not give Railtrack a blank cheque.’

He insisted: ‘Railtrack was taken into administration because it was, or was likely to become, unable to pay its debts.’

Byers said his petition to the court showed there would be a deficit of Pounds 700m by 8 December rising to Pounds 1.7bn by the end of March next year.


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