The validity of a rail strike causing nationwide disruption has been called into question.

Derek Monnery, Essex Rail Association chairman, has slammed the latest RMT union strike taking place throughout today and yesterday.

The RMT Union is taking industrial action as part of a long running dispute over the role of conductors.

About 60 per cent of Greater Anglia trains run without conductors - mainly commuter trains into London Liverpool Street from Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Suffolk.

Mr Monnery said: “What I find difficult, is that the strikes seem to have no validation.

They say they have safety concerns, but many of these lines run without guards anyway. It is all a bit strange, and what they are campaigning for will bring very little change. Most trains on main lines, and particularly in Essex, are one man trains anyway.

“It seems more like a Seventies union dispute. There are plenty of really worthwhile reasons to strike, but this doesn’t seem like one of them.”

No trains were cancelled in Essex, with the majority of Greater Anglia trains already manned by just the driver. The RMT raised safety fears over the contingency plans of Greater Anglia, even though the company said they had been approved by the industry’s regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT members stand solid, united and determined again in the latest phase of strike action in a raft of separate disputes which are about putting safety, security and access to transport services before the profiteering of these rip-off private rail companies. Political and public support is flooding in as our communities choose to stand by their guards against the politically motivated drive to throw safety-critical staff off our trains.”