THE Barrow and Furness MP has called on the Government’s Transport Secretary to “take responsibility” for the “rail fiasco” which plagued south Cumbria over the summer.

John Woodcock made the comments in reaction to a report published by MPs, which placed blame for the country’s timetable woes on the railways at the feet of the secretary of state, Chris Grayling.

In a scathing report on the problems caused when new schedules came into effect in May, the Transport Select Committee said he should have been more proactive in preventing it.

They said swift reforms were needed to restore passengers’ trust in the railways, and said the “chaotic roll-out” of alterations to services across the country should be the catalyst for “genuine change” for people who rely on the network.

The MPs said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was not fully informed of the serious problems caused by the changes, but they added it was not reasonable for him to absolve himself of all responsibility.

Mr Woodcock said: “This report is a damning indictment of everyone involved in this fiasco, from the transport secretary downwards.

“But for Furness passengers, the chaos and miserable service was going on long before – and long after – the timetable meltdown.

“I saw the new rail minister Andrew Jones in the Commons who said he was happy to meet us Cumbria MPs to discuss the way forward so we can end the nightmare of the last couple of years.

“Of course Chris Grayling needs to step up and take responsibility, but more importantly he needs to take action, give people across the north west an early Christmas present and strip Northern of their franchise.”

Commenting on the report, South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “I fully agree with the Committee’s conclusion that the Transport Secretary’s failure to act was instrumental to the chaos on our railways.

“But here in Cumbria, we know the devastating consequences of Chris Grayling’s incompetence stretches much further back than this summer.

“It was his decision to cancel electrification projects, including here in the Lake District, that led to chaos with diesel trains having to be found last minute from elsewhere, and drivers spending time being retrained rather than driving trains.

“But more importantly, it was his department’s completely inexplicable decision to take both the Furness and Lakes Lines off TransPennine and hand them over to Northern back in 2016 that has led to over 2 years’ worth of disruption and disappointment for passengers in south Cumbria.”

In response to the report Mr Grayling said he had apologised “many, many times” already for this summer’s rail chaos.

He added: “The reality is, at no point did I get the information I would have needed to intervene, and we must make sure it never happens again.”