The government's transport secretary has said train services in Cumbria could soon be nationalised.

Grant Shapps has lambasted the performance of Northern over its running of train services throughout Cumbria and the north of England.

"We cannot carry on just thinking it is OK for trains not to arrive," he told the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, as his Department for Transport confirmed it was looking into handing over the Northern Rail franchise to an 'Operator of Last Resort' - putting the services back into public hands.

This is a move supported by Transport for the North, a body set up by the government to develop a new rail strategy for the north of England.

Addressing the select committee, Mr Shapps was critical of Northern's handling of timetable changes last year.

"If you are northern, and you are a Northern passenger, you're as frustrated as I was in 2018," he said.

"With Northern it has failed to recover.

"As a fellow long-suffering commuter, I entirely believe we cannot carry on just thinking it is OK for trains not to arrive, or Sunday services not to be in place. That has to change."

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “Chris Grayling refused calls to act on Northern Rail’s failings for years, so it is very welcome that the new transport secretary is threatening to step in over dire performances on the Furness and Cumbria Coat line.

“But long-suffering passengers will want to see that this commitment is genuine and not more warm words. And whether the government or a private company runs the line, the shortage of available drivers must be tackled to end this ongoing nightmare of cancelled services.”

David Brown, managing director at Northern, said: “Arriva and Northern remain fully committed to delivering the transformation of the North’s railways and improving customers’ experience. We are delivering the biggest transformation of local rail for a generation, with 29 of our 101 new trains in service from Monday and driver training taking place on dozens more trains right now. Alongside 2,000 extra services per week, this is part of a £600 million investment in improving customers’ experience; we are continuing to invest in better stations, better offers for customers and more recruitment.

“These discussions have no impact on rail services for customers. Our job is to continue to provide the best service possible for our customers whilst any discussions are taking place.”