TRANSPORT police say they are “working hard” to crack down on drunken train disorder.

An inspector spoke out as three men received suspended jail terms for their roles in shocking violence on a Whitehaven-Carlisle service.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how train guard Marilyn Allison bravely tried to stop a ‘Wild West’-style mass brawl involving drunken passengers.

Trouble flared on March 30 last year, hours after a Good Friday rugby league derby in west Cumbria.

Ms Allison saw the thugs attack a fellow passenger, who was punched, kicked and lost consciousness. The court heard “her first thought was that he might die”.

In his police statement, train driver and eyewitness Matthew Scott-Davies said: “I was genuinely shocked at the scale of the violence and it made me think at what point a member of staff will be hurt.

“In my opinion this incident was completely fuelled by alcohol.

“This is a constant problem on our services, specifically on the weekends.”

By-stander passenger Alan Woodward said Ms Allison, who will receive a court commendation for her bravery, was “absolutely brilliant”.

He added: “She got involved and managed to get the fight broken up. She handled the situation extremely well.”

Inspector Tom Nicholls, of British Transport Police, said: “Our officers work hard to make sure that the Cumbrian rail network is a safe and pleasant environment for passengers and rail staff.

“Since last summer, my team have increased our visibility on late night rail services to directly tackle the increase we saw in anti-social behaviour, violence and public order offences.

“As a result of this, we have seen a reduction in this type of offending - this case is an example of the work we are doing to root out offending.

“We will continue to be highly visible throughout the rail network to ensure that it remains a safe, low crime environment.

“Passengers can always report their concerns to us by sending a text to 61016, by speaking with rail staff while travelling or calling us on 0800 40 50 40.”

n Daniel Lloyd, 27, Shaun Wilson, 26, and 31-year-old Scott McMaster, all of Aspatria, were sentenced on Friday for their part in the violence.

All three of them - previously with no previous criminal convictions and with this sort of trouble said to be out of character - admitted affray.

Each had a 14-month jail term suspended for two years. They must also complete 200 hours’ unpaid work in the community and pay £750 costs.