Rail unions have lost a High Court bid to challenge the Government over the awarding of franchises to train companies.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, Aslef and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) were refused permission to seek a ruling that there has been a flawed consultation process.
Union chiefs have accused the coalition Government of "rushing through" the privatisation of the East Coast Line (ECL) so it is completed before next year's general election and also challenged extensions to the Thameslink.
Union lawyers argued in court today the Government was unfairly continuing to consult business interests about franchises but not the unions or passenger groups.
Mr Justice Cranston, sitting at London's High Court, ruled the case "unarguable".
The judge said that the unions were essentially seeking "re-consultation" following an earlier consultation exercise over the issue, but had failed to meet "the very high test" for judicial review requiring them to show there had been "a fundamental change of circumstances".
Later an RMT spokesman said: "We will be studying the judgment carefully with our sister rail unions and considering whether to appeal against this decision."
He added: "It's a public service and the public should be involved in shaping this railway. The Government having conversations behind closed doors with the train operators means poor value for the tax and fare payer."
Earlier TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said: "The coalition knows only too well that rail franchising is not fit for purpose. Rail workers are at a loss to understand why the Government insists on going forward with a broken system which threatens the interests of passengers and taxpayers.
"We can only conclude that the ideology which saw Royal Mail flogged off on the cheap continues to thrive."
A Department for Transport spokesman said: "This decision has yet again endorsed the Government's approach to rail franchising competitions. We are continuing to agree deals that will bring hundreds of new trains and thousands more seats for rail passengers, generating billions for the taxpayer."