HELENSBURGH could lose its rail link with Glasgow over the safety fears of ScotRail workers based in the town.

That's the warning issued by the town's MSP and one of the country's largest rail trade unions after a surge in anti-social behaviour by young people in and around Helensburgh Central station.

An emergency meeting will take place in the town next week after members of the train drivers' union ASLEF raised concerns about a number of incidents where staff and passengers have experienced threats and abuse from young people in and around the station.

Representatives from ScotRail, trade unions, Police Scotland, British Transport Police, West Dunbartonshire ouncil and Argyll and Bute Council have been asked to attend the meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, August 15.

The union has called on Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf to act and end the violence and anti-social behaviour plaguing passengers and staff on trains and stations in Helensburgh and west Dunbartonshire.

Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF's organiser in Scotland, said: "There has been a continuous rise in violence and anti-social behaviour against rail staff on trains and at stations on services from Glasgow Queen Street to Helensburgh and Balloch.

"As a union, we believe it is imperative that the Transport Minister takes urgent action to ensure that passengers and rail staff are safe."

Mr Lindsay has called on the minister to ensure every train has atleast two members of staff on board, to increase the presence of British Transport Police on trains at Helensburgh and Balloch, to back restraining orders for repeat offenders, to support staff who refuse to work trains west of Dumbarton and to attend the multi-agency meeting on Tuesday organised by Jackie Baillie.

"Our members are at the end of their tether and getting ready to refuse to work on these services," he continued.

"There are real concerns that a member of the public, or a rail worker, is going to get seriously injured or worse.

"As a union we will be seeking legal advice on our ability to use current laws to take action against the individuals, their parents or guardians, including the local council, Scottish Government and ScotRail over past and any future physical or verbal assaults on our members.

"So an urgent response is needed from the minister before a community loses its rail services and, more importantly, a rail worker is seriously hurt or worse."

Ms Baillie said: "The anti-social behaviour we have seen at Helensburgh Central over the last few months is completely unacceptable and it must stop.

"A solution needs to be found as soon as possible or we may end up losing the rail service completely if staff refuse to work in Helensburgh.

“I have been speaking to all the relevant agencies since April about and, despite the best efforts of ScotRail and others to tackle the issue, the threats and abuse have continued caused by a small group of young people.

"I hope this meeting will focus the minds of all the relevant agencies and come up with proposals to end the anti-social behaviour once and for all.”

Responding to ASLEF's comments, Humza Yousaf, minister for transport and the islands, said: “Anti-social behaviour at rail stations and violence or the threat of violence against those using and working on public transport is wholly unacceptable.

"Every worker and passenger has the absolute right to go about their business without the fear of verbal or physical assault.

“We work closely with the police, Scotland’s transport providers and the trade unions to raise awareness of this issue, and I have already committed my support in terms of the ‘Violence against Transport Workers’ campaign.”

David Lister, safety and sustainability director at the ScotRail Alliance, said: “The safety and security of our staff and customers is our number one priority.

"Any attacks on staff or customers is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

"People should be able to go about their business without fear of violence.

“We are working closely with the British Transport Police, Police Scotland, local councils and others to tackle this problem.”