MORE must be done to help Cumbrian rail passengers who are being let down by cancelled and delayed train services.

That is the view of a leading transport group, which is concerned that rail operators are not offering enough assurances.

Cumbria County Council's Peter Thornton was among senior councillors from across the region who attended the Transport for the North meeting in Manchester this week.

They were addressed by representatives from Northern, TransPennine Express and Network Rail about train performance and future plans, in the context of ongoing disruption.

But afterwards, members said they had not received sufficient assurances that timetables are fully deliverable.

They are now calling on the Government to appoint someone to take overall charge.

Mr Thornton said: "What basically came out is that rail operators can give no real assurances of when it is going to get better.

"The problems are a combination of infrastructure that can't cope, the wrong rolling stock, and a timetable that shouldn't have been introduced until these issues had been addressed.

"They should have seen this coming. But the rail system has become so fragmented that now nobody is taking responsibility for the mess that we are in. Everyone is blaming someone else.

"We did say that if this was happening within 50 miles of London, it wouldn't be allowed to continue. It's not the service that Cumbria deserves. We need a better response."

Carlisle-based Craig Johnston, regional organiser for the RMT union, said people can no longer depend on the railways.

"People are saying we have had enough. The Northern rail franchise was let on the basis that there would be a huge improvement. What we've seen instead is a calamity, a shambles.

"People have been waiting for trains that aren't coming. Thousands of trains have been cancelled," he said.