Commuters in Dumbarton and the Vale are facing potential travel chaos after the train drivers' union warned that its members were no longer willing to travel west of Dumbarton due to a rise in threatening behaviour towards station and train staff.

ASLEF's Scottish organiser, Kevin Lindsay, released the statement earlier today confirming that drivers were preparing to refuse to work the Glasgow Queen Street services to Balloch and Helensburgh Central stations if action wasn't take to reduce levels of violence and anti-social behaviour at local stations.

Mr Lindsay also on the Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to act over the issue and asked him to support a number of measures designed to reduce the problems including increasing the number of staff on board services; to increase the presence of British Transport Police officers on trains and at Helensburgh and Balloch stations; and to support staff who refuse to work west of Dumbarton.

He also called on Mr Yousaf to attend a forthcoming multi-agency meeting on the issue organised by Dumbarton and the Vale MSP Jackie Baillie.

Mr Lindsay 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."

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

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

In response, Mr Yousaf 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.”

The meeting organised by Ms Baillie is due to take place next Tuesday, with representatives from trade unions, Scotrail, British Transport Police, West Dunbartonshire Council and Argyll and Bute Council invited to attend.

Ms Baillie said: “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.”

Meanwhile, a Scotrail spokesman confirmed that extra British Transport Police officers would be on patrol at stations and on services along the route, and that staff would be making use of body cameras.

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.”