The salary rises come as rail networks across the country prepare to make a raft of cuts to get their finances on firmer footing.
LNER – which charges around £140 for a standard class single ticket from York to London – has proposed axing several services including links between “red wall” constituencies in the north-east of England and London, as well as reducing opening hours at some ticket offices.
The Department for Transport is also considering whether to freeze fares or apply an inflationary increase of 4.8pc next year. The rail minister has indicated it could cull such a rise, a move that would put fresh pressure on the public finances.
John Macdonald, of the Adam Smith Institute, said: “It is a grim hypocrisy that rail barons are lining their pockets with money taken from taxpayers increasingly struggling with a cost of living crisis.
“This is a cut and dried example of the failures of nationalisation. Rather than having a well run and affordable rail network, we have one in which those who run it are content to sit back and reward themselves for poor reliability and shoddy service.”
Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “I suspect many taxpayers will be absolutely scathing of these pay rises.
“Especially considering that they were awarded in the midst of the pandemic when many people were seeing sizeable drops in their incomes.
“Ministers must act and ensure public money is spent on improving the railways, not gilt-edged pay packets for already well-heeled bosses.”
A spokesman for the Government said: “Over this period the contracts of the [DfT OLR Holdings] directors have changed to meet the growth of the organisation as it has doubled the scale of its operations in order to meet the challenges of maintaining vital rail services for hundreds of thousands of rail passengers.
“We of course keep the pay of the senior management team under constant review.”