RAIL must be taken back into public ownership in order to address problems with overcrowding and reliability, Newport East MP Jessica Morden has said.

Speaking in Parliament earlier this week, the Labour MP said the UK Government's transport policies has "failed".

Ms Morden, who has repeatedly raised concerns about delays, overcrowding and under investment on rail services running from south Wales to Bristol, said: "The privatised rail system is not delivering.

"Services are getting worse and fares are going up.

"We need the government and rail companies to address these problems now and to take rail back into public ownership when the rail franchises expire."

The franchise for the Great Western line, which runs from London Paddington to south Wales, as well as parts of England, is currently held by FirstGroup, which runs First Great Western and Wessex Trains.

Although the company was originally awarded the contact in 2005 on a 10-year basis, this has been repeatedly extended, with the government currently in talks to continue it until March 2022.

And, although electrification of the line between London and Cardiff is due to be completed by the end of this year, last July it was announced this would not be extended to Swansea, despite previous promises.

Outlining concerns raised with her by constituents, Ms Morden said: "Services to Bristol and beyond have for some years been plagued by reliability problems and chronic overcrowding," she said.

"Commuters are completely frustrated.

"The Severn Tunnel Action Group, a fantastic local rail group, along with Magor Action Group on Rail, forensically survey commuters.

"They showed that, on half the commuting days at the end of last year, there was standing room only for those getting on at Severn Tunnel Junction, and on many days, only three carriages were available, not five.

"They also catalogued the delays and cancellations.

"Commuters, whose fares have gone up by 33 per cent since 2010, feed back the daily occurrences of overcrowding, people being left on the platform, people fainting on the train and people being asked to stand in the toilets so that more people can get on."

Research has also shown usage of Severn Tunnel Junction station, a key link between Bristol and south Wales, has risen by 297 per cent over the past 20 years.

Ms Morden said: "Transport links to Bristol, one of the fastest growing economies outside London, are crucial for access to employment."

Replying to the debate, transport minister Joseph Johnson said: “Privatisation is succeeding, and we can see that in the increased numbers of passengers using the network.”

He added the UK Government had committed to invest £48 million into railways between 2019 and 2024, calling this “the largest investment in our railways since the Victorian era”.