Staff have walked out for the third time this week bringing all rail services used by hundreds of thousands of passengers from the south coast and Gatwick Airport to London to a halt.

Southern commuters have already suffered months of delays, cancellations and walkouts in Britain’s worse rail disruption in decades, due to a row over whose role it should be to open and close doors on the trains.

It’s feared the dispute could spread to services in central and northern England as other operators look to bring in driver-only trains.