Concern is growing in Cumbria over various aspects of the HS2 project that could bring ultra-fast trains to the county.

Current plans would see a high-speed line built from London to Golborne Junction near Wigan. From there, HS2 trains would continue over existing tracks to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

However, as the plans stand, direct services from the capital will only serve Carlisle, forcing passengers from elsewhere in Cumbria to either take a service northwards first or change at Preston - and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is calling on the Government to honour existing network patterns.

The chamber says the Government need to think about the risk of these areas losing a crucial economic lifeline.

Suzanne Caldwell, managing director of Cumbria Chamber, said: “Improving connectivity is a sure-fire way to boost growth and raise productivity. HS2 certainly has the potential to do that.

“Our concern is when these trains join the existing tracks, to continue their journey to Scotland, they won’t stop in Cumbria as they currently do and a large area of the county will lose direct rail service to the capital.

“We’ve been lobbying for several years for HS2 trains to observe the existing stopping pattern north of Preston. Avanti, the operator on the West Coast Main Line, agrees with us.

“It would be self-defeating to force passengers between Carlisle and London to either change at Preston or add nearly 50 miles to their journey by having to go cross-county. So we’ll continue to make the case for HS2 services to call at Oxenholme and Penrith as well as Carlisle.”

Former Carlisle MP Eric Martlew, who was also the former chair of the parliamentary west coast group a member of the transport select committee, was also concerned about HS2.

Because the new high-speed trains do not tilt like the trains currently used on the west coat mainline, they will in fact be slower.

Mr Martlew said: "Whilst it good news that the Hs2 trains will be able to stop at Carlisle there are some downsides. The original proposal was for the line to go from London to Glasgow.

"This plan is terminating the high-speed line at Wigan. This means that the journey times on the old West Coastline will be longer than at present because the Hs2 trains can't tilt like the Pendolino’s therefore have to slow down for the bends.

"So in fact journeys to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Preston and Manchester from Carlisle will take longer, which may have the effect of deterring passengers from going beyond Manchester."