SWINDON-BASED First Great Western has been attacked in the House of Commons over chaos on its trains.

MPs have accused the Government of washing its hands of the problem. Politicians from all sides complained of delays, cancellations, overcrowding and fare hikes and demanded immediate action from ministers and train company bosses.

The Government appeared to lay blame squarely at the feet of the train operators, and said the firm was about to issue an apology and explanation for the service.

The company, dubbed Last Great Western, was responsible for cutting services, running trains with fewer carriages and increasing ticket prices far above inflation, MPs said.

In a Westminster Hall debate today they accused First Great Western of "firefighting'' problems across its network by moving trains from one area to another and said Government franchising failures had contributed to the problems.

Both ministers and train bosses were guilty of blaming each other, they said, and the Government should hold a train summit to address the thousands of complaints from commuters.

The Government rejected calls for a meeting and said the company was going to explain the poor levels of service.

Junior minister Tom Harris said there was no need for a summit.

He said he completely understood the frustration felt by passengers and sympathised with the problems they faced.

On Monday campaigners said about 2,000 rail passengers travelling between Bristol and Bath refused to pay fares in a day of protest over services and more than 400 people had signed a petition calling for improvements.