FORMER Transport Secretary Lord Adonis joined passengers facing long delays as he sampled public transport during his review of the North East economy.
The former transport secretary experienced the delays on the Metro and a train during his whistle-stop tour of the region.
Using public transport to travel between Washington, Gateshead, Team Valley, Newcastle and then on to Durham, Lord Adonis noted the pros and cons of the region’s public transport via the social networking site Twitter.
The fact-finding expedition was part of an expert-led review of the region’s economy. With Lord Adonis as its helm, the review will target productivity and employment growth in the North East until 2030, resulting in recommendations to be implemented over the next five years.
Wanting to garner his own evidence, Lord Adonis yesterday boarded a bus at the Washington Galleries Station, which he described as “a good, modern bus station”, paying £3 to get to Gateshead.
Singing the praises of the Gateshead interchange, which had “good passenger info and buses well organised and on time” he then travelled on to Team Valley, but felt the £1.90 fare for the short journey was “steep”.
But his transport tour hit problems when, at 9am, having boarded the Metro to Newcastle, Lord Adonis faced delays along with hundreds of commuters trying to make their way to work.
Delays to the service started at 6am yesterday when problems in Sunderland and Pelaw meant no trains could operate. Trains were also off between Regent Centre and Airport while there was a failed train at Bank Foot caused by freezing temperatures and signal problems between South Gosforth and Benton.
Passengers faced waits on platforms in freezing conditions and, in some instances, were asked to leave trains.
A Nexus spokesman said: “The first issue was from Pelaw to Sunderland and we had no trains in that area.
“That had a knock-on effect throughout the system, as did later issues between South Gosforth and Benton.
“The first part of Lord Adonis’ journey went well but, unfortunately, due to circumstances out of our control, there were delays with the system.”
Arriving at Newcastle’s Central Station the ex-transport and schools minister, wanting to travel from Newcastle to Durham, found himself facing a 90-minute wait after it was announced emergency services were dealing with an incident south of York.
An East Coast spokesman confirmed there had been a fatality early yesterday morning south of York.
Some of the review panel’s findings will be debated at a 200-delegate conference in February being held at the Baltic in Gateshead, before a final report is published in late spring.