STAFF at a “war zone” train station besieged by teenage gangs have lodged appeals to be moved to quieter platforms in other parts of Scotland.

Up to 100 are expected to take part in a demonstration at Hamilton Central railway station on Wednesday claiming that not enough has been done to combat the "headbangers and nutters" that are congregating there over two years.

The RMT, which says Hamilton Central is the worst in Scotland because of teenage gangs, says there is a surge of violence towards staff – a situation which it says management are "choosing to ignore" despite repeated warnings.

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Members of Scotland's biggest rail union, the RMT say up to 100 youths congregate at the station on a regular basis with station staff complaining over drunken yobs involved in physical assaults, spitting, drug-taking, vandalism and bottle throwing, with violent incidents directed at staff and members of the public.

HeraldScotland:

A fortnight ago a ticket office had to be closed for the evening because Scotrail could not guarantee staff safety.

"Some of our people are requesting that they are removed from Hamilton Central. We have people who are reluctant and scared that if they don't remove them from Hamilton then they are going to rip their heads off," said Mick Hogg, Scottish organiser of the RMT union.

“We have been seeking a solution for the past two years and as far as we are concerned enough is enough. And something needs to give before, god forbid, something serious happens, or someone ends up losing their life as a result of these thugs and neds.

HeraldScotland:

"The last thing we want is the closure of Hamilton Central because of headbangers and nutters, juveniles who are out of control.

"Politicians needs to intervene and the issue is that the criminal justice system for dealing with juveniles needs to change.

"Our people have been demanding answers and assurances and they are not forthcoming."

In the past four weeks, eight separate incidents were recorded in a diary.

They included an elderly lady attacked by a youth in a drug-related assault, a passenger battered on a stairwell and another hit with a bottle. Staff were verbally abused, fires were lit and people threatened.

One staff member said: “The gangs are winning. It's open season on employees with no protection from the company.”

Another said: "It's a struggle every day going in to work. I’m afraid to go out of the booking office.”

A leaflet that RMT members will be handing out to passengers at the station on Wednesday says: “Workers at this railway station are under direct fear of violence and other variations of assault whilst just turning up for work to serve you.

"For over two years we have asked the employer to take action.

HeraldScotland:

"We have yet to see any significant action or change from Scotrail on the matter; that is why we are holding this demonstration. We are desperate to see changes that give our members and workers here at Hamilton Central some protection from violence and assault whilst they are at work.

"We do not believe that is too much to ask for in 2017."

RMT say that police have told them there is little they can do because they are juveniles.

In Scotland, children, those under the age of 16, are only considered for prosecution in court for serious offences such as murder, assault which puts a life in danger or serious road traffic offences which can lead to disqualification from driving.

One RMT source said: "Police Scotland openly say that there is nothing they can actually do about the juveniles, because if they arrest them or caution them and take them back to the parents in a couple of hours they are back at Hamilton Central causing havoc.”

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “It is truly appalling that rail workers have no option but to mount protests to force the rail operators and the Scottish Government to wake up and take action over the surge in violence at Hamilton Central and other points on the Scottish rail network.

HeraldScotland:

"There are also clearly some issues in terms of the justice system and the restrictions it places on the police in terms of taking serious action to stop the gangs.

“This scandal has to stop before it’s too late and RMT expects those in control to take responsibility and act to protect our members out there in dangerous and vulnerable conditions. ”

A ScotRail Alliance spokesperson said: ““The safety of our staff and customers is always our number one priority. The crimes that are taking place are totally unacceptable - and are not just restricted to the railway station. We are working with the police to make sure that the people responsible are caught.”

Chief Inspector David Gray of the British Transport Police added: “We are committed to driving down antisocial behaviour on the railway, particularly where we know where passengers and rail staff have raised particular issues.

“We have a dedicated patrol plan, which sees officers regularly patrol this station and others on the same line.

“We will always investigate any allegation of criminal activity fully, and prosecute offenders within the full remit of the law."