Commuters are set for a week of travel chaos from today after negotiations to avert a five-day strike by Southern Rail staff broke down.

Only 60 per cent of Southern’s timetabled trains will run until Friday, with some routes completely cancelled during the strike period.

Last week the RMT union rejected an offer of suspended industrial action by operator Govia Thameslink.

Surrey Comet:

The company has already been running an emergency timetable since the beginning of July, cancelling 341 trains a day in a bid to combat excessive lateness and staff shortages.

The union dispute centres on Govia’s proposal to change the role of conductors.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “It was clear right from the start of these talks that there was no serious intent from Govia Thameslink to engage in genuine negotiations.

“Our action in defence of rail safety and the safety critical role of the guard now goes ahead.”

Routes that will no Southern service this week include Clapham Junction to Milton Keynes via Kensington Olympia, Sutton to Streatham via Wimbledon, West Norwood to Tulse Hill and Guildford to Leatherhead.

A full list of cancellation can be found on the Southern Rail website.

Govia Thameslink passenger service director Angie Doll said: “We are sorry that our passengers once again look set to suffer further disruption because of the RMT.

“This action is not necessary. Our new on-board supervisors will no longer close the doors, a task that passes to the driver with the aid of CCTV. This will cost no-one their jobs, and frees up staff on board trains to better serve passengers.

“As many services will have staff on board as they do today and our on-board staff will have an improved role which better meets the needs of passengers, securing their valued position on the railway for the long-term.”