Campaigners are marking the 20th anniversary of the Act of Parliament which paved the way for rail privatisation with a series of protests.
It was on November 5 1993 that the Railways Act came into effect, leading to all train companies being privatised by the time of the 1997 general election.
Today, protests organised by the TUC's Action for Rail campaign will be held at more than 30 stations.
The TUC said today:
Train operating companies are entirely reliant upon public subsidies to run services, with the top five recipients alone receiving almost £3 billion in taxpayer support between 2007 and 2011.
This allowed them to make operating profits of £504 million - more than 90% (£466 million) of which was paid to shareholders.
By contrast, the state-run East Coast Main Line will have returned £800 million to the taxpayer by the end of the year.
Twenty years on from rail privatisation the UK also has the most expensive train fares in Europe, with average ticket prices rising nearly three times faster than wages since the recession. TUC analysis shows that some season tickets have increased by more than £1,000 since 2008.
The average age of trains has risen since rail privatisation, from 16 years in 1996 to 18 years old today. Just £1.9 billion was spent on rolling stock between 2008 and 2012, compared with £3.2 billion between 1989 and 1993 (the four years before privatisation).
More than 90% of new investment in recent years "has been financed by Network Rail (the taxpayer-funded body responsible for rail infrastructure), and comes mainly from taxpayer funding or government-underwritten borrowing".
Separate research carried out for rail unions shows that, rather than reducing costs, rail privatisation is costing taxpayers £1.2 billion a year as a result of fragmented services, higher costs of borrowing and money leaking out of the service in the form of profits and dividends.
"Twenty years on from the Railways Act we have a system of corporate welfare with train companies reliant upon the public purse to turn a profit. Virtually all of this ends up in shareholders' pockets, rather than being used to improve services.
"Tragically the Government is refusing to accept that the current model is broken and is recklessly pushing ahead with the re-privatisation of the East Coast Main Line, despite it thriving as a publicly-owned service. Ministers have learnt nothing from the last 20 years of failure."