South West Trains today urged a rail union to postpone strikes which have crippled train services.

Services in the South, including Brighton to Reading trains through West Sussex, were disrupted for a second day because of a walkout by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union in a dispute over pay.

SWT today urged the union to postpone a second 48-hour strike planned for Monday and Tuesday to allow time for more negotiations.

Almost nine out of ten services have been cancelled during the strike.

SWT runs six trains on Monday to Friday out of Brighton to Reading, via Chichester and Basingstoke.

Sussex commuters travelling to South West London, changing at Clapham Junction or Waterloo to use South West trains, were also badly affected by the walkout.

More than 100,000 commuters take SWT trains each day into Waterloo and across the South.

The union has rejected a 7.6 per cent increase over two years and is holding out for the deal to cover 18 months, similar to an agreement with SWT drivers.

Acting general secretary of the union, Vernon Hince, said his members were "incensed" at the way they had been treated by the train operator.

The RMT said there was a three to one vote in favour of the strike.