RAIL union RMT yesterday held a lobby outside County Hall expressing fears that Government plans to electrify key North West train routes are running late.

It acted after concerns about the key modernisation scheme were raised by the Commons Select Transport Select Committee chair and former Lancashire County Council leader Louise Ellman.

She said earlier this week there were ‘all kinds of question marks’ surrounding the Northern electrification programme.

Her comments followed rail bosses admitting that the exact total cost of some major rail schemes, including Northern electrification, was undecided.

The electrification of the route from Manchester to Leeds and York is due by 2018 with hopes the Manchester to Bolton section of the line to Darwen, Blackburn and Clitheroe would quickly follow.

Yesterday’s RMT lobby of the Lancashire County Council headquarters coincided with a Department for Transport presentation to councillors on the rail franchising process.

RMT boss Mick Cash said. “We can’t get an assurance on the electrification programme in the region that it was assumed would be completed in the next four years.”