Unite the union today (23 January) met with Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, along with Nick Fitzwater, Managing Director of Gemini Rail Services, following the decision by the company to serve notice on the Springburn depot.

In 2017, Knorr-Bremse, who owned the depot until a name change in November 2018, had announced a significant improvement in its overall UK financial position with a pre-tax loss of £5.3m down from a £15.6m loss in 2016. Gemini Rail, who took over from Knorr-Bremse, today confirmed that around 90 per cent of the reported losses stemmed from the Wolverton site in England, highlighting the financial viability of the Springburn site.

With 30 days left in the consultation period, Gemini Rail refused calls by Unite and the Cabinet Secretary to extend the consultation period to enable more time to save the depot. The union welcomed the pledge by the Cabinet Secretary to accelerate a commission by Transport Scotland on the electrification of the depot to connect it to the Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line, and to explore repurposing options, including the creation of a national transport hub. 

Unite recently launched its campaign, ‘Rally Roon the Caley’, which has two key demands:


  • On-site electrification in order to connect the depot to the Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line at an estimated cost of less than £1m. The Scottish Government has been allocated £4.8bn for rail infrastructure from Westminster.

  • The Scottish Government’s immediate intervention to bring the depot under its control as an asset of strategic importance in Scotland’s transport infrastructure. The demand is based on the precedent set by the Scottish Government who brought Glasgow Prestwick Airport under its control in November 2013.

Pat McIlvogue, regional industrial officer, said: “The intransigence of Gemini Rail’s management is astonishing. The company seem hell-bent on committing industrial vandalism by closing the Springburn depot. Why things have allegedly deteriorated so drastically is a question the company have not answered? Unite’s belief that the depot is not making losses at a level that the employer is claiming was, in fact, confirmed by the company who admitted that around 90 per cent of its reported losses stem from the Wolverton site in England. Unite firmly believes that the Springburn depot is financially viable, however, time is running out. We need solutions brought forward as a matter of urgency.”


For more information contact Pat McIlvogue on 07918631805.

Notes to editor:

Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.