A 24-HOUR walkout by Southern Rail staff yesterday was “solidly supported” a union has said.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) unit staged a strike as part of a long-running dispute over the role of guards.

Picket lines were mounted outside stations while Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was urged to convene a special summit to try to break the deadlock.

Southern managed to run a normal service on most routes, but advised passengers to check for any last-minute changes before they travel.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash (right) said: “RMT members remain solid and united as we continue to fight to put public safety, security and access before the profits of the train operating companies.

“Today we have written to Chris Grayling calling for summit talks under an independent chair to break the deadlock in these long-running disputes.

“We expect a positive response to this important initiative.

“It offers a real chance of progress.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “This is a dispute between a private company and the RMT.

“However, the Transport Secretary recognises the disruption caused to passengers and has met with union leaders on several occasions to help bring an end to the strikes.”