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Railway responsibilities move again

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The ministerial reshuffle also saw transport minister Kim Howells moved on after just one year in the job.

Howells moved to the Department of Work & Pensions to become Further & Higher Education minister.

At the Department for Transport (DfT) Howells was responsible for the rail industry and regularly clashed with rail regulator Tom Winsor.

But Howells was popular within the transport industry. 'It is always sad when a good minister leaves after just one year, ' said AA Motoring Trust director John Dawson.

Howells' rail responsibilities now fall to Tony McNulty, promoted to minister of state. David Jamieson retains responsibility for roads.

Staffordshire Moorlands MP Charlotte Atkins joins the DfT as parliamentary undersecretary with responsibility for aviation and local transport.

Atkins has already had an impact on transport issues. She lists securing funding for the A527 Biddulph inner bypass as one of her successes as an MP and in June 2001 she voted in favour of an unsuccessful motion to sack outspoken transport select committee chairman Gwyneth Dunwoody.

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