NETWORK Rail staff spent £10,000 a week on airline tickets last year – including many trips within the UK.
For travel in the UK, the company let the plane do the rigors almost 20 times a week.
In contrast, rail passengers face delays and strikes, with fares among the highest in Europe.
Thousands of rail union members went on strike again yesterday, bringing even more suffering to speculators.
Network Rail bosses, who are responsible for maintaining the railway lines and stations, admitted that they preferred to take flights over trains because the plane tickets were sometimes cheaper.
This is happening even as rail bosses try to tout rail as the greenest way to travel.
A freedom of information request revealed that employees had bought 985 airline tickets for domestic travel and another 1,622 for international travel last year.
One director, Michelle Handforth, who earns £330,000 a year, cost the company nearly £8,000 for 35 internal airline tickets.
Figures from Network Rail show that 72 of the domestic flights were destined for the Birmingham-Glasgow route – which has a direct rail link and is less than 300 miles long.
Mike Childs of the environmental group Friends of theHe pointed out that trains are far more environmentally friendly than planes.
He said: “It’s a sad disgrace to the state of rail transport in the UK when industry bosses choose to fly.”
Network Rail said: “Our travel policy is to book the cheapest deal available, which is why the vast majority of travel is by rail or via video conferencing.”