Rail operator Northern could have its franchise terminated if its performance does not improve, the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said.

Northern, which operates services on the Newcastle to Carlisle and West Coast Main lines, has faced growing concerns over the past year as travellers have been disrupted by timetable changes, delays and cancellations.

Asked by MPs on the Commons' Transport Select Committee meeting this week, Mr Grayling said: “If Northern can’t deliver, then of course we would look at all options.”

He added: "We are watching and, we will continue to watch very carefully, Northern’s performance in all respects, and I expect it to deliver on what it has have committed to deliver. It hasn’t been good enough up to now.

“Fundamentally, the infrastructure in the north is not up to handling the needs of a modern commuter railway, and that’s what it needs to be.”

A spokesman for Northern said it was investing £500m into its services as part of a modernisation programme that is transforming travel in the north of England.

It is currently fully refurbishing its existing fleet of 243 trains, improving its stations and has introduced over 2,000 extra services every week since 2016.

“The north deserves the best possible rail service and we are working hard to improve performance and reliability for customers," a spokesman said.

“Since last year, we have made a large number of improvements for customers, including better punctuality and further investment in refurbished trains.”