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Hundreds of Southern rail services have been temporarily axed under an amended timetable brought in from midnight in response to months of disruption.

Parent firm Govia Thameslink (GTR) said the “more reliable” timetable, with 341 fewer daily services, would operate on week days “for the foreseeable future”.

Dyan Crowther, chief operating officer, said it would offer “more certainty”.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said it was “a crisis measure designed to rig appalling performance figures”.

“The fewer trains you run, the fewer will be delayed and the better your headline performance statistics will look,” he said.

“The new timetable also means the vast reduction in services, approved by the government, will leave remaining trains dangerously overcrowded and it will be our members at the sharp end left to manage the safety of the passengers.”

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