By Jonathan Davies

The government has said it will delay or scrap parts of National Rail's £38.5 billion infrastructure investment plans.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said National Rail had missed targets on costs, meaning the full plan would likely cost much more than £38.5bn.

Mr McLoughlin said National Rail should've foreseen that the modernisation of the UK's railways would've taken longer to complete and cost more than estimated.

National Rail itself said the plans, described as "largest modernisation of the railways since Victorian times", were too ambitious.

The "electrification of the Great Western Line is a top priority," the transport secretary said, "and I want Network Rail to concentrate its efforts on getting that right".

The electrification of the Midland mainline and Leeds to Manchester will be "paused".

Mr McLoughlin also revealed that National Rail chairman Richard Parry-Jones would leave the role at the end of his three-year term. He will be replaced by Sir Peter Hendy, the current commissioner of Transport for London.

Shadow transport secretary, Michael Dugher, said the government should've known that the £38.5bn plans could not go ahead. He said: "We have been warning time and time again there needs to be fundamental changes in how our railways are run. You spent the election campaign repeating promises you knew you would break after the election.

"Ministers may try to shift all the blame to Network Rail, but this happened on the government's watch and the responsibility for this mess lies squarely with the government."