Criticising the UK Government’s 1996 policy of rail privatisation, the National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (RMT) has revealed that designing and tendering rail franchises since 2003 has cost the country £75m ($122m).

The price of private rail franchising between 2003 and2005 was £42.4m ($69m) and between 2005 and 2009 it was £33.8m ($55m), according to the RMT.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that tens of millions of pounds that could have been invested in the rail network have been squandered on drawing up and tendering train operating franchises.

“While precious resources are being wasted on propping up the failed policy of rail privatisation, nearly 1,500 safety-critical rail maintenance jobs are being threatened with the axe. That’s the distorted priorities of the UK rail system – unlimited funds to keep privatisation afloat while safety is compromised out on the tracks in a dash for cuts,” Crow said.

The revelation comes two months after the East Coast Mainline franchise was taken back from rail operator National Express and taken into public ownership.