Mark Carne has been named as David Higgins’ successor as chief executive of Network Rail.

Carne, a former executive for Royal Dutch Shell in the Middle East, will join Network Rail in January next year, taking over from outgoing boss David Higgins on April 1.

Higgins had previously indicated that he would not stay in the post for the whole of CP5 and may leave by the end of 2014.

Network Rail’s chairman, Richard Parry Jones, said: “Each and every day, Network Rail has to provide a safe and reliable railway for the travelling public as well as the train and freight operating companies, at the same time as working to improve the network to help us meet unprecedented growth in demand.

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