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 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.