would have thought a company delivering record levels of cash to the taxpayer would have something to boast about. Surely its bosses would want to crow about how they turned around a failing franchise that had been abandoned by the previous two franchisees. You’d think they would use this laudable fact to justify a round of plump bonuses and a topping payrise. 

And yet they are strangely silent. If you thought they were hoping nobody would notice their successes, you’d be right. To be more precise, their owner doesn't want anybody to notice their successes.

This secretive organisation is the East Coast Mainline Company Ltd (East Coast). East Coast is the government owned Train Operation Company (TOC) that took over the nationalised East Coast Mainline after that franchise was abandoned by the private sector, first by GNER (2007) and then by National Express (2009). It is a company celebrated in the Guardian and the Daily Mail for returning a whopping £1billion to the taxpayer since the franchise was nationalised in 2009. And yet its bashful bosses box on, according to their annual report, on their modest Civil Servant salaries (East Coast CEO earned £224.8k in 2013. Peanuts compared to CEOs of similar sized companies (FTSE250 CEO average pay = £1.3 million) and with no bonuses and no share options .