The outgoing head of Network Rail, Mark Carne, has controversially been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, one of a number of figures from the world of transport and engineering to be recognised for public service.
The award to Mr Carne, who is due to leave the rail infrastructure operator later this year, follows criticism from transport secretary Chris Grayling over Network Rail’s contribution to the chaos that has followed the introduction of a new timetable last month.
Mark Carne CBE
Network Rail’s chairman, Sir Peter Hendy, said: ‘Clearly the timing of this award is difficult given current industry issues and their effects on passengers, but we should take a step back and look at Mark’s whole career, and particularly his record over the past four and a half years and recognise, as this award does, his tremendous contribution to our railway.
‘Mark has successfully transitioned Network Rail into public ownership, delivering the largest investment programme in modern times, successfully devolving the organisation to be responsive to customers, has made a 21st Century digital railway a reality, and his personal commitment to safety has made our railway the safest in Europe.’
Lilian Greenwood MP, chair of the Commons Transport Committee, which has just launched an inquiry into the debacle, said: ‘Passengers will be furious. Their trains aren't arriving on time, if they arrive at all, but this reward for the top boss turns up even before he's left his post.’
Two other Network Rail officials were recognised. Ian Stevens, programme manager, was awarded an MBE for services to suicide prevention, while Scott Heath, project manager, received the British Empire Medal, for services to the LGBT community.
In addition, Ian Prosser, director of railway safety at the Office of Rail and Road and HM Chief Inspector of Railways, was awarded a CBE for services to Railway Safety.
Andy Gregory, currently principal private secretary to Mr Grayling and previously deputy director at the Transport Security Operations Centre, was awarded an OBE for services to transport resilience.
Lucy Chadwick, formerly director general of international security and environment at the Department for Transport (DfT), was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath for public service.
Cathleen Reeves, deputy director, road user licensing insurance and safety at the DfT was awarded an OBE for services to local sustainable transport, while Christopher Batten, lately HR casework legacy manager at the DfT was awarded an MBE for services to public administration.
In the Year of Engineering, a number of prominent women in the field were recognised. Denise Bower professor of engineering project management at the University of Leeds, was awarded an OBE for services to the engineering and construction industries, while Dr Frances Saunders was awarded CBE for services to science and engineering.
Two key figures in the construction of the new Queensferry Crossing, which the Queen opened last August, were recognised. Michael Martin, who was project director for Forth Crossing Bridge Contractors, was awarded an OBE, as was David John Climie, project director for Transport Scotland.
Victoria Harrison-Cook, head of media and Transport for London was awarded an MBE for services to diversity in public relations.