THE Government is being urged to electrify the Furness line as Barrow's shipyard expands.

MP Simon Fell raised the issue in the House of Commons in a session with transport minister Huw Merriman.

Mr Fell said it was a step needed with the amount of freight travelling on trains to Barrow for submarine construction due to increase.

He said: "The Government recently announced, through the Network North deal, the electrification of the energy coast line.

"That will take 150 million tonnes of freight off that line every year and is hugely welcome.

"Through the SSN-AUKUS programme and the Dreadnought programme, and the doubling of the size of the shipyard in Barrow, a similar amount of freight will be needed going the other way.

"Will the Minister meet me and the wider Team Barrow board to discuss the merits of electrifying the Furness line?"

In response, Mr Merriman said work was ongoing as part of the Team Barrow project involving government officials and local leaders to regarding improvements to the A590 and 'options for the rail industry to improve the local rail network'.

He said he would met with Mr Fell to discuss electrification of the line.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Fell said: "I was very glad that the Minister agreed to meet with me - we will be discussing both the quality of service on the line, which has been shocking recently, and electrification."

Mr Fell previously urged rail operator Northern to improve the 'abysmal' service on the Furness line following delays and cancellations.

He wrote to the company urging it to come up with a 'concrete' plan to improve its services for passengers.

Northern said it was working to improve the reliability of its services and on bringing drivers and other staff off on sick leave back to work.

"The principal cause of this disruption remains the level of traincrew sickness, which is above the industry average.

"Progress is being made to increase our available resources and we are working hard with our occupational health provider to assist colleagues back to work," Craig Harrop, the company's regional director, said,