A union is calling for a public campaign to stop the closure of a rail depot in Glasgow, which threatens almost 200 jobs.

Gemini Rail Services only took over the Springburn site in August after a sale was agreed with Knorr-Bremse Rail Services.

In December, proposals were announced for the depot's closure with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressing disappointment the Scottish Government only found out through media reports.

A consultation was launched on January 17 into the possible closure.

Rail union RMT has now called for "the broadest possible political and public campaign" to keep the depot open.

General secretary Mick Cash called the planned closure "an act of industrial vandalism that will not go unchallenged" with the hope of not "sweeping away of 160 years of rail engineering history".

"There is absolutely no time to lose as we approach the half-way point in the company's 45 day consultation", he said.

"The skills set that our members at Springburn possess is simply irreplaceable and, without action from politicians and governments in both Edinburgh and Westminster, would be lost forever.

"This is just another example of the fragmentation of the privatised rail industry where prime assets are passed from one speculative owner to another and would mean that a proud railway nation like Scotland loses a key engineering resource at the stroke of a pen regardless of the consequences for jobs, training and the local economy.

"I have written to the Scottish Transport Secretary, the convener of the RMT Trade Union Group in the Scottish Parliament and other politicians and the Scottish TUC to mount a vigorous campaign to defend the Springburn workforce and ensure that train maintenance facilities remain at this historic railway site.

"RMT will stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone who is willing to join us in the campaign to save the Springburn depot and ensure that skilled railway work continues to be carried out in Scotland."

Nick Fitzwater, managing director of Gemini Rail Services, suggested Springburn's location hampered its ability to access more stock and keep the site sustainable.

He said: "Gemini Rail Services has entered detailed consultation with its employees and their representatives over its proposal to close the Springburn site.

"We know this is a worrying time for our employees and our priority is to ensure they are kept fully informed and supported throughout the consultation.

"The difficult decision to make the proposal has been made against a backdrop of adverse market conditions which are outside of our control and severely affect our core business of maintaining pre-privatisation rolling stock.

"Due to new trains being introduced by rail operators, the number of pre-privatisation rolling stock units the company traditionally maintains is in steep decline and will reduce by 80% in the next five years.

"Springburn will continue to suffer a significant decline in demand for its services due to its location, as only around 10% of the rolling stock that will be accessible is in Scotland and the north of England.

"This will lead to unsustainable losses."

He added: "In parallel to consultation, Gemini Rail has contacted and engaged in many meetings and conversations with key stakeholders, including the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, industry experts and local politicians, to explore with them viable ideas and proposals for the site.

"We are committed to these talks and they are continuing."

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: "It is disappointing that Gemini Rail Services are pursuing the consultation for closure.

"The Cabinet Secretary met with the owners and rail industry partners during January and used the opportunity to reinforce the importance of this facility at Springburn and the need to keep similar work in Scotland.

"Meanwhile, we continue to work with rail industry partners, unions, the workforce and Gemini Rail Services to explore any options, however, the timescale that Gemini Rail Services Ltd have set as part of the statutory process makes this extremely difficult.

"Transport Scotland and Network Rail are undertaking a high level review of the proposed costs to extend electrification into the works but given the nature of this work it will need time to fully develop these details.

"Funding has also been made available to ScotRail to extend the leases of more trains and fleet upgrade work will be done at Springburn in the coming months.

"The Scottish Government remains committed to supporting rail services in Scotland and has made record investment in the sector in recent years, including new rolling stock and improved infrastructure.

"There is sufficient capacity at other Scottish locations, including ScotRail's own depots, to continue to service our fleets."