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Failures are costing taxpayer £451m: RMT claim

In the wake of the cancelled franchise for the West Coast Main Line, one leading rail union claims almost half of the existing franchises are now receiving public bailouts.

The RMT claim 8 of the 19 franchises are being subsidised by the taxpayer and are calling for the full renationalisation of the railways.

The union also claims that revenue support payments made to train companies has increased from £290 million a year to more than £450 million.

"The expensive shambles of rail franchising extends well beyond the fiasco on the West Coast mainline as these figures show that a majority of the UK's rail routes will soon be on corporate welfare due to a mixture of bogus train operator projections and government and departmental incompetence.

"Hundreds of millions of pounds that could go towards improving our railways or keeping down fares is being soaked up by this racket which is lining the pockets of the private rail companies at taxpayers' expense."

– Bob Crow RMT General Secretary

The Department for Transport has suspended 3 members of staff over flaws in the franchise bidding process for the West Coast Main Line. A full investigation is now taking place and department officials are declining to make any other comments.

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Northern Rail explain rail disruption

Lee Wasnidge from Northern rail explained to ITV Border why they felt it necessary to close the viaduct at Cummersdale in north Cumbria. The move has caused disruption to rail services between the city and west Cumbria.

The Viaduct already had scaffolding on it for routine maintenance and so that it could be painted.

Inspections will be carried out to determine if it is safe to ropen the viaduct this week.

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