Network Rail boss Mark Carne has said he will not take home a Christmas bonus after travel chaos left thousands of Brits stranded after Boxing Day.

The issue of whether Carne would or would not accept the six-figure pay-out hit the headlines on Tuesday morning (30 December) following a radio interview in which the chief executive implied he would take home a bonus cheque.

Network Rail passengers expressed distaste at the idea of a £135,000 bonus – 20% of Carne's annual salary of £675,000 – after engineering works at King's Cross meant the station remained closed on Boxing Day and the day after.

The train company has been fined £53.1m by the Office of Rail Regulation for the disruption, saying it fell "significantly short" of punctuality targets.

The Telegraph reported on Tuesday morning that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the pay-out must be "slashed" and sources say he was prepared to use legal backing to block a six-figure deal.

Michael Dugher, the shadow transport secretary, said big bonuses would be "perverse and indefensible".

Under Network Rail's operating terms, remuneration packages for executives must be signed off by the transport secretary and the chief secretary to the Treasury.