Waiting on a freezing platform at 6am and not even getting a seat – Rail Minister FINALLY realises what it"s like to take the train to work

Waiting on a freezing platform at 6am and not even getting a seat: Transport Minister FINALLY realises what it's like to take the train to workOutcry when it was revealed Simon Burns was being driven to workReported that the chauffeur-driven car cost the taxpayer 80,000 a yearAfter pressure from commuters he decided to 'adjust' his travel
Tory MP pictured taking train from Chelmsford to London for third day

By
David Wilkes

PUBLISHED:

02:00 GMT, 11 January 2013

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UPDATED:

05:17 GMT, 11 January 2013

Pledging to take the train seemed to be causing quite a strain for Simon Burns yesterday.

The Transport Minister looked nonplussed as he waited on the platform for the 5.58am, then almost bemused as he queued to board it.

Things only got worse when he found his 2nd class carriage was full and he was forced to stand in the corridor for the 36 minute journey from Chelmsford to Liverpool Street, London.

Lonely: Transport Minister Simon Burns waits for the train to Liverpool Street following pressure from commuters after it was revealed he had been using a chauffeur-driven car to get to work

Lonely: Transport Minister Simon Burns waits for the train to Liverpool Street following pressure from commuters after it was revealed he had been using a chauffeur-driven car to get to work

Early riser: Mr Burns was pictured waiting for the 5.58am train from Chelmsford to Liverpool Street Station

Early riser: Mr Burns was pictured waiting for the 5.58am train from Chelmsford to Liverpool Street Station

But at least he did not have any of those troublesome red boxes to worry about.

All he had with him was a newspaper and a book which he buried his nose in to pass the time on the journey, for which the cheapest single ticket costs 14.20.

It was the third day running this week Mr Burns has gone to work by train after being railroaded into not using his chauffeur-driven car.

There was an outcry after a Sunday newspaper reported it cost the taxpayer 80,000 a year.

Mr Burns, a Tory Minister of State with responsibility for ‘rail strategy’ and ‘fares policy’, denied his journeys into London from his home cost that figure.

Map

Easy-rider: Map showing Mr Burns car journey from Chelmsford which he took while others endured the train

Simon Burns

Transport Minister

Rise and shine: Mr Burns leaving his Chelmsford home before boarding the packed train

Transport Minister Simon Burns

Transport Minister

Rough and tumble: Mr Burns was unable to get a seat on the train so was forced to stand up and he is pictured battling through the crowds at a busy Liverpool Street Station

Mr Burns appeared to feel the cold as he stepped out at Liverpool Street Station

Mr Burns appeared to feel the cold as he stepped out at Liverpool Street Station

He uses a Department for Transport
pool car, he said, which, because of ‘flat rate’ charges which apply
regardless how many journeys are made, would cost 80,000 even if he did
not make the 35-mile commute in it.

But after mounting pressure from
commuters and fellow politicians, he decided to ‘adjust’ his working
practices and how he travels to and from work.

‘My previous arrangements were not intended as a snub to hard-pressed rail travellers,’ he added.

Mr
Burns claimed he took the car from his Chelmsford home only because he
was barred from working on his Red Box of official Ministerial papers on
the train for security reasons, the Mail on Sunday reported.

But he was contradicted by the Cabinet
Office, which said Ministers could work on papers in public as long as
they ensured sensitive material could not be seen.

So where were Mr Burns’ Red Boxes were when he caught the train yesterday

His
spokesman said: ‘He has changed his habits more broadly than just how
he travels. He is working later in the office so not having to travel
with the boxes.’ The spokesman added that the boxes were not transported
by another means but stayed in the office instead.

It
was unclear if Mr Burns has bought a season ticket, but his spokesman
insisted the change to his travel habits was ‘not just this week, but
on-going’.