THE "duty" to help tourism in Cumbria recover from continued rail chaos lies at the feet of train bosses, according to a local councillor.

Cllr James Airey, Conservative leader on Cumbria County Council, has called for troubled Northern to provide funding for a major marketing campaign for the Lake District.

He has written to the Rail Delivery Group's (RDG) chief executive Paul Plummer to back the calls.

All passenger and freight rail companies are members of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which provides services and support to help its members deliver rail services across the UK.

Cllr Airey said: "Following the recent disruption to services on the Lakes Line, Northern has a duty to help Cumbria Tourism get the message across that South Lakeland is open for business.

"As the industry body for every rail company in the UK, there is also an obligation on the Rail Delivery Group to get behind these calls for its member to do the right thing and provide funding for this important marketing campaign."

The campaign was backed by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who raised the issue during a debate in Westminster Hall yesterday (20).

He said: "The Lakes Line may only be a short 12 mile stretch but when it comes to significance it punches far above its length.

"The Lake District is in its first full year of being a World Heritage Site which means many thousands more tourists from this year. The Lakes Line is essential to those visitors accessing the outstanding natural beauty of the national park and the surrounding areas, and to the tourism industry that provides such a breadth of experiences for locals and visitors alike.

"We are not a dispensable backwater. After London, we are Britain's second biggest visitor destination and our contribution to the UK economy is huge. The toll it will inevitably take on the local economy could be enormous."

Sharon Keith, regional director at Northern, confirmed the firm were looking to help marketing efforts.

She said: "We will be working closely with our stakeholders in the region to develop a marketing campaign to highlight all the Lake District has to offer and to assure anyone visiting the world heritage site that it is very much open for business.

"We are determined to provide the best possible service for our customers on the Lakes Line and will continually monitor our performance and the efficiency of the transport we are currently operating.

"As part of this we will be seeking feedback from our customers and local stakeholders to ensure we are providing a service that keeps the Lake District on the move."