But other directors fail to follow suit as rail body misses efficiency targets on track renewal

Network Rail chief executive Ian Coucher will waive his bonuses this year, following revelations that the not-for-profit rail infrastructure owner and operator will miss efficiency targets set out by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

However, his colleagues will take their bonuses.

Last year Coucher made half a million pounds in bonuses as the group met performance targets. He said: “Today I want to be able to talk freely about Network Rail's story of success and how it has delivered for passengers not just last year but over the last five years without this story being clouded by controversy.

“In the last 12 months we met or exceeded almost all of the tough targets set for us by our independent regulator.”

He said that the other directors deserved their bonuses. How much they get will be disclosed next month when the company publishes its annual report.

Rail station
Efficiency targets for track renewals were missed by 4% during the latest five-year control period

The act is unlikely to stave off industry and union criticism since Network Rail missed efficiency targets for track renewals by 4% during the latest five-year control period, which has just closed, despite meeting other ORR requirements.

The company is viewed by many in the rail sector as inhabiting the worst of both worlds - a state-protected enterprise that behaves like a private monopoly.

The ORR, which sets targets on punctuality, efficiency and savings in lieu of market competition, has previously supported the bonus culture at Network Rail, but last month Anna Walker, ORR chairman, said that concerns about bonuses were “absolutely understandable.”

Last year Network Rail paid out £55m in bonuses.Detailing the company's performance, Coucher said that the rail network was carrying a record number of passengers on a record number of trains and that passenger satisfaction at 83% had never been higher.