Only 54 per cent of Network Rail’s members, equivalent to shareholders, voted in favour of its remuneration policy at today’s annual general meeting, in a rebuff to senior directors.
Concerns were raised last month when it was revealed that directors had been awarded over £2 million in bonuses and incentive plans.
Outgoing chief executive Iain Coucher was personally awarded £641,000 under the scheme.
Network Rail chairman Rick Haythornthwaite said: “Today’s meeting has been one of healthy debate where Network Rail’s shareholders - called members - have held the board to account demonstrating the value of their role. Members raised issues around safety, performance, remuneration and cut-backs in rail investment.
“Network Rail is moving to a new phase in its development and changes will happen. Network Rail’s members must change too and today’s meeting may well mark a start.”