South Central, the main rail operator in Sussex, reported minimal delays today as train guards mounted their latest one-day strike.

The company said many guards reported for work as normal this morning and more than three-quarters of services were running normally.

The company was operating an emergency timetable to cope with the stoppage.

Thousands of extra journeys were expected to be made on the last working day before the Easter break, traditionally one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Guards belonging to the biggest rail union, the RMT, are staging their third 24-hour strike in a dispute about their safety role.

South Central said about three-quarters of trains on the main Brighton to London line were operating and 90 per cent were running on time.

There were fewer cancellations than expected on coastal services, with three-quarters of trains between Brighton and Portsmouth operating as normal.

An hourly service between Eastbourne and Hastings was reinstated mid-morning.

A spokesman said guards only operated at peak times on the Brighton to London route and few hold-ups were expected later today.

He said: "It has been a good turnout. We have been able to reinstate a number of services we did not think we would be able to operate today."

Thameslink, the other company operating between Brighton and the capital, operates driver-only trains and its services have not been affected.

Connex South East, which runs trains between Hastings and London, said about 80 per cent of services were operating normally.

The RMT is taking industrial action amid fears about job security and safety on driver-only trains. Rail companies have condemned the strike.