WATCH: Top Labour MP stranded on broken train... as he campaigns against rail fare hikes
A senior Labour MP was left stranded on a broken down train today as he travelled the country campaigning against eye-watering rail fare hikes.
Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald said his Virgin East Coast service had suffered a “complete loss of power just like this awful Tory government”.
He was stuck on the train for some two hours just outside Grantham before another train service came to rescue passengers.
It came as commuters faced an average 3.4% rise in fares as they returned to work after the Christmas break, with many season ticket costs up by around £100.
It represents the biggest hike since 2013 and is in line with annual increases pegged to RPI inflation.
Mr McDonald faced a fresh Network Rail headache when the 9.56am service from Stevenage to Leeds broke down.
“My day of campaigning for a publicly owned railway has been interrupted today because of the breakdown of this Virgin train as I head to Leeds,” he said in a video message.
“So it’s run out of power - a little bit like the Tories.”
He added: “If anything could demonstrate just how broken this system is it’s this today. But we are going to continue with our campaigning.”
The service Mr McDonald found himself stuck on is at the centre of a scandal after the government was forced to step in on the franchise run by Virgin and Stagecoach.
GRAYLING MOCKED FOR QATAR TRIP
Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was mocked today as he dodged questions about the fare rises with a three-day trip to the Middle East.
The Department for Transport said his planned meetings with Qatari ministers and business leaders would serve to "promote the UK overseas, support British jobs and strengthen the important relationship between the two countries".
A spokesperson added: "This trip has been specifically arranged to take place outside of Parliamentary time. The Secretary of State has repeatedly answered questions on this issue, ever since fare increases were first announced by the industry in August.”