SIR David Crausby is more optimistic than ever about promises that electrification of Bolton's railway line will be complete by Christmas following a meeting with Network Rail.

In the meeting on Friday, the Bolton North East MP was told that work will “definitely” be complete by Christmas and that new electric trains will start running on the line next May.

Network Rail also said that there would only be two more weeks of weekend closures after which work will continue overnight.

The Labour MP said he is always sceptical about deadlines regarding the railway because there have been so many “broken promises”.

But he said that he is more optimistic now that work is nearly complete, albeit three years after it was initially promised to be done.

He said: “Much of the work is done and I’m happy to hear the closure of the line will finish in two weeks time.

“We have a fantastic railway line, all we’re short of is some trains on it. We are getting close to it now.”

According to Sir David, Network Rail said that the new new electric trains can be as long as six carriages.

He said that he will continue monitoring that six-carriage trains are used during peak times.

Sir David said: “We want people to be accommodated in something a bit better than a cattle truck."

He was also told that the pacer trains will be gone by May 2019 when the new electric trains replace them.

Northern will introduce 98 new trains next year, the first of which was on display in Liverpool last month.

Diesel trains will continue to be used alongside the new electric trains, including 55 modern diesel units which will be introduced on the line.

Electrification of the line between Manchester and Preston was initially expected to be complete by the end of 2015.

Sir David said: “I understand that they did have some reasonable excuses. They had some problems with land. But I don’t think they have three years of excuses."

The meeting with Network Rail came the day after the Mayor of Greater Manchester called the city-region's transport system "outdated, fragmented and unaccountable."

Andy Burnham called on the government to give the region the same transport powers as London to help solve its transport issues.

Sir David said he agrees with Mr Burnham that fixing the city-region's transport problems are "impossible" without more spending powers and echoed the mayor's call for a devolved transport budget.

He said: "There's not much point of us electing a mayor if he doesn't have much power. I think a decision of this kind should be made as close to home as possible.

Although he admitted that there were some reasonable excuses behind the delay of electrification work, he said that some of these problems could have been avoided if decisions were made in the region and not in Westminster.