THE transport secretary should have been more proactive in preventing this year’s train timetable chaos, say MPs.

And they say swift reforms are needed to restore passengers’ trust in the railways.

In a scathing report, the Transport Select Committee said the “chaotic rollout” of alterations to services in May should be the catalyst for “genuine change” for people who rely on the railways.

The MPs said transport secretary Chris Grayling was not fully informed of the serious problems caused by the changes.

But they said it was not reasonable for him to absolve himself of all responsibility.

Mr Grayling had the ultimate authority to judge trade-offs between competing commercial interests and he should have been more proactive, said the report.

The committee said passengers most affected by the delays and cancellations should receive a discount on 2019 tickets.

Last week’s announcement that rail fares will increase by an average of 3.1 per cent added “insult to passengers’ injury”, said Lilian Greenwood, who chairs the committee.

Ms Greenwood said: “It is extraordinary, and totally unacceptable, that no-one took charge of the situation and acted to avert the May timetabling crisis.

“Instead of experiencing the benefits of much-needed investment in our railways, around one in five passengers experienced intensely inconvenient and costly disruption to their daily lives.

“There was extraordinary complacency about protecting the interests of passengers, who were very badly let down.

“The complex system by which we operate our rail services failed to cope with the scale of change planned for May.

“The Secretary of State has announced a year-long independent rail review. While the need for fundamental reform is beyond doubt, passengers cannot wait until 2020 for key lessons to be learned and reforms implemented.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said the government had already delivered “special compensation schemes” for passengers, worth up to 8 per cent of the price of a season ticket.

He also said “significant change” was required in the rail industry and that reforms would begin from 2020.

Govia Thameslink chief executive Patrick Verwer said services had become “more stable and reliable” since July.