Commuters' chance to quiz minister

JADED rail passengers in Ipswich will today get the chance to air their grievances to a top government minister as he embarks on a six-day rail voyage across Britain.

JADED rail passengers in Ipswich will today get the chance to air their grievances to a top government minister as he embarks on a six-day rail voyage across Britain.

Frustrated commuters will have direct access to Transport Minister Lord Adonis when he visits the town on his trip to get “first-hand experience” of the rail service.

The minister boarded the Paddington to Truro sleeper last week - armed with his laptop and a �375 standard class Rail Rover ticket.

On Saturday, he reached York after a 1,500-mile trip taking him as far north as Inverness.

Today, he was due to travel from Brighton via Ashford International, Margate, Gillingham, Gravesend, Tilbury, Upminster, Romford and Ipswich before heading to Norwich.

Tomorrow, he will set out from Norwich, travelling on the service to Peterborough, then onwards to Birmingham, Chester, Crewe, Manchester, Preston and Carlisle.

Most Read

Lord Adonis said: “My plan is to get to railway lines I have rarely or never used.”

Ipswich MP Chris Mole, who frequently uses the Ipswich to London trains for his visits to parliament, said he was hoping to discuss the problems with rail services on the mainline.

He said: “I'm keen to impress the importance on Lord Adonis of additional capacity on the line into London and the reduction of overcrowding.

“This is a commitment National Express made last week in discussions with his department and I will urge him to understand the need for this to happen.

“I don't always travel at busy times but when I do I understand the concerns people have about seating space.”

Norwich North MP Ian Gibson, who was also set to meet the minister, added: “I wish he was coming on a Sunday so he would have to take buses - that would serve him right.”

The minister's journey will involve some 45 trains. Any signs of cabin fever will be logged on an online blog.

A spokesman said: “Andrew is travelling solo and is happy for commuters to chat to him.”

Lord Adonis was appointed minister of state for transport in October 2008, having served more than three years at the then Department for Education and Skills.

Are you a regular rail user? How do you rate train services? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk