Key Cumbrian rail projects are some of the priorities included in a submission to a national body which will help shape the future of transport in the North.

Transport for the North has made its first submission to the National Infrastructure Commission - the body tasked with providing evidence to support the Government in developing its Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands.

It is calling for a phased pipeline of rail investment over 20 years.

TfN has made the case that, alongside major projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2, local and regional improvements will help unlock freight and passenger capacity.

It says this will create job opportunities, reduce the reliance on cars, cut carbon emissions and tackle a predicted post-coronavirus economic shock.

Priorities identified by TfN include delivering better connectivity to the Midlands and Scotland, including by developing Preston and Carlisle stations as key interchange stations for north to south and east to west transport.

It says it also wants to improve the freight network by addressing "capacity pinch-points" including on the Cumbrian Coast Line to Sellafield.

Dr Steve Curl, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership lead for transport and infrastructure - who also sits on the Transport for the North board - said both projects were very important to the county.

"The Cumbrian Coast line is presently subject to an £8.35m project being undertaken by Network Rail to decide exactly what to do," he said.

"The aim of that is to have a major project to upgrade the entire line because it's not quite shovel ready, but it could be relatively quickly."

He said Carlisle was set to play an important part in HS2 as the location where its trains will split to head either to Glasgow or Edinburgh.

"Carlisle is also an important east-west connection alongside the A66," he said.

"I am very supportive of everything Transport for the North have said. At the moment the rail system is running at very low loading as we leave it free for key workers, but I think it will come back to some kind of normal.

"We need to get people back on rail and bus as soon as we can, without impacting key workers."

The TfN submission also makes the case for direct involvement of northern leaders in creating and delivering an agreed pipeline of rail investments.

TfN said it understood the Government intended to finalise the Integrated Rail Plan by the end of this year, with recommendations on the delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 and other planned schemes such as the TransPennine Route upgrade.

Transport for the North chief executive Barry White said: "The North needs certainty on what rail schemes will happen and when."