NORTHERN has broken promises by asking to extend the initial two-week closure of the Lakes Line for a further two weeks - a request which has been met by fierce opposition.

A temporary timetable put in place by Northern has caused chaos, seeing more than 150 daily services temporarily suspended until July, and all routes on the Lakes Line replaced with buses for two weeks.

Now South Lakes MP Tim Farron is urging the transport secretary not to grant Northern's plea.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP, Mr Farron, said: “The Transport Secretary made a promise to me in the House of Commons on Monday that he would not accept any bid to extend the suspension of rail services on the Lakes Line.

“He must now keep his word, and not sign this off.

“Northern could have been a lot cleverer and instead run a shuttle service between Oxenholme and Windermere, as suggested by Liberal Democrats on the County Council, without affecting services in and around Preston or Manchester.

“But instead they’ve simply given up trying to run a train

service – it’s time for the Government to sack them.”

Commuters across huge swathes of the north west have faced daily cancellations, with a public campaign being set up to criticise the service

Officials at the RMT rail workers union say the that the train operator – which runs services from Carlisle to Newcastle, in the Lake District and along the Cumbrian coast – has presided over weeks of failure.

Scores of services in the south of the county have been cancelled, while services have also been dropped between Carlisle and Newcastle, the union says.

Northern has defended its running of the service, and rejected a suggestion that it is not employing enough drivers.

Today, Northern has informed Transport for the North that to reinstate services on the Lakes Line, after two weeks of the interim timetable, would be likely to lead to further delays and unscheduled cancellations on this line and across the wider network.

John Cridland, chairman of Transport for the North, said: “It’s disappointing that we are in this position, as communities and businesses rely on the Lakes Line service. Northern must now do everything they can to get a train service running again on that line as soon as possible. This cannot go on for a prolonged period.

“Northern has said that passengers would be likely to experience further cancellations and unscheduled delays across the Lakes and wider network if services are reinstated. As the voice of the North’s communities, we cannot responsibly insist that they take that operational decision. The passengers come first.

“Let us be clear, our support for Cumbria is unwavering. We are urging Northern to look at all ways in which a rail service on the line can be restored by the beginning of July at the latest.”