MPs have called on the Government to consider stripping transport giant Arriva of the Northern rail franchise.

An early day motion tabled in Parliament by Gateshead MP Ian Mearns criticises the poor performance of services and calls for the Government to launch an urgent inquiry into the “crisis” at Northern.

The motion has won support from the likes of Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham, Easington MP Grahame Morris, Hartlepool MP Mike Hill and former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, MP.

The motion highlights staff shortages, an over-reliance on rest day working and overtime, a shortage of trained drivers and poor management planning, resulting in frequent cancellations.

It states: “Passengers across the North are now being left waiting at stations, not knowing when, or if, trains will run…. plans to introduce driver-only operated trains will exacerbate those problems.”

Northern has been grappling with a series of strikes by members of the RMT rail union since March last year over the issue of driver only trains which the union says will remove guards from their safety critical role onboard.

More 24 hours strikes on the network were recently announced for May 24 and 26.

The RMT has now released extracts from a letter sent by Northern Rail to one of the union’s MP supporters.

In it bosses admit that it is “more than apparent that we have had resourcing issues since the start of the franchise that have impacted on our delivery” and this is something it has been working extremely hard to address.

It adds that the company is “working hard to get the basics right” as it begins delivering major modernisation plans which will see the introduction of refurbished rolling stock on its routes.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said it was fully supporting the MP’s call for an inquiry.

Mr Cash said private train bosses were trying to run the railway at minimum costs, knowing that the Government would crop them up come what may.