Long-suffering train passengers on the Bedford to Brighton line should see a return to normal service from Monday after drivers voted to accept a pay deal, Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said today.

Facing the first question time to an individual secretary of state in the Lords following reforms agreed last month, he told peers he could bring "modest glad tidings" to users of the service.

Liberal Democrat peers leader Lord McNally, speaking from the backbenches, had urged the Transport Secretary to consider whether franchise operator First Capital Connect was meeting its obligations following a series of problems.

Lord McNally said he was one of the "poor bloody infantry" forced to commute using the line, which has been affected in recent days by the severe weather and a fire.

It follows technical breakdowns and industrial disputes which led to driver shortages in a row about overtime.

Lord Adonis said he was "only too well aware of the sub-standard service" offered by First Capital Connect in recent months, but that a driver's ballot yesterday had led to a pay settlement being accepted which should see a normal service resume from Monday.

He added: "I stress that that is the intention of the company.

"Of course in the current weather conditions there may be other factors at bay, but the company is well aware of your concerns - and there are many others who have been severely inconvenienced in using this service in recent months - and they are fully intent on improving that service rapidly."