Work to improve rail travel on the West Cumbrian coast line is a step closer to completion.

Nearly three miles of new track is being installed between Bootle and Silecroft as part of the £3m Great North Rail Project, a Network Rail investment to improve the safety, reliability and speed of trains.

Worn sleepers, railway stone and rail started to be replaced early last month and Copeland MP Trudy Harrison visited the site in the early hours of Sunday morning to see how work has progressed.

Mrs Harrison said: “This has been a fascinating insight into the world of rail repairs and renewal and I’m grateful to all those who welcomed me and explained in detail the process.

“I would like to thank everyone for their understanding - this has been a noisy and inconvenient, but absolutely essential upgrade to ensure safety and reliability of the service.

"Working through the night has been necessary to carry out such extensive upgrades to ensure the current 20mph speed limit is restored to a line speed of 60mph.”

The investment has helped remove a temporary speed restriction imposed on the coast line due to the poor condition of track.

Weekend work has now been completed, with two weeks of overnight working remaining Monday to Friday.

Adrian Brookes, planning manager for Network Rail, said: “Overnight may seem like a strange time of day to upgrade the track, but this is normal for railway workers as it minimises disruption to important daytime passenger and freight services.

“It was great to show Trudy our completed work that will help deliver smoother, faster and more reliable journeys.

"As part of the Great North Rail Project we will continue to work with Northern as we plan for and deliver the remaining stretch between Bootle and Whitehaven this autumn.”

Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, added: “The Great North Rail Project is delivering fantastic improvements across the region and the work in Cumbria is a great example of how the industry is working together to help customers.

“The improved track, together with our new and refurbished trains, will ensure Northern customers in Cumbria get better journeys than ever before.”