Sadiq Khan has accused the Government of "abandoning" passengers on Southern Railway as services were severely disrupted ahead of a series of fresh strikes.

The Mayor of London said the ongoing chaos was a "total disgrace", which was badly failing commuters and other travellers caught up in the crisis.

Members of train drivers’ union Aslef are banning overtime in a row over driver-only trains and will take three days of strike action next week which will bring all Southern's services to a halt.

Mr Khan said: "The ongoing chaos on Southern rail services is a total disgrace that is badly failing commuters who just want to get to work and back.

"The unions should cancel the strikes and get back around the negotiating table, but the Government are washing their hands of this crisis and abandoning commuters in the process.

"The chaos on the Government-run Southern services this week is in stark contrast to Transport for London (TfL), who successfully persuaded the unions to call off their planned strike on the underground through engagement and negotiation.

"The number of days lost to strikes has reduced by 92 per cent since I became Mayor so our approach is clearly working.

"This is yet another reason why the Government should devolve control of commuter services like Southern, Southeastern and South West to TfL.

"It is absolutely clear that commuters would suffer from fewer strikes if TfL controlled these routes, and fares would be more affordable."

Southern is considering mounting an appeal after losing a High Court bid to halt the strikes next Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

There was no Gatwick Express service between Brighton and Gatwick Airport and many Metro trains were cancelled today.

Other routes suffering disruption included the main Brighton to London line.

Aslef drivers are also planning a week-long walkout from Monday, January 9 until Saturday, January 14.

Services are likely to stop running earlier than usual next Monday and start later on Thursday because of the knock-on effects of the strikes.

A DfT spokesman said: “Passengers are once again facing misery because of this needless and unjustified strike action by the RMT and Aslef.

“We are investing record amounts in our railways and we need every part of the sector to work together to deliver for passengers.

“The union leaders have continually rejected a deal that means no job cuts and ensures that on-board supervisors will carry on delivering safe, accessible and more reliable rail services.

“We call on the RMT and Aslef to put passengers first and stop this damaging action.”