TRANSPORT police are stepping up their patrols on West Dunbartonshire’s trains in a bid to crack down on anti-social behaviour.

The British Transport Police (BTP) has joined forces with a dedicated Travel Safe Team put together by train operator ScotRail to give reassurance to staff and law-abiding passengers on trains between Dalmuir and Balloch.

The move comes after a storm of complaints last summer that anti-social behaviour by young people travelling by train to visit Balloch Park and Loch Lomond was turning the area into a “no go zone”.

Inspector Ryan Tierney from the BTP said the route had been chosen to pilot the partnership operation between the police and ScotRail because it had seen the “vast majority” of problems.

Clydebank Post: Inspector Ryan Tierney.Inspector Ryan Tierney.

Speaking as the Reporter joined the BTP and ScotRail's Travel Safe Team at Dumbarton Central station, before watching them in action on a journey to Balloch, Inspector Tierney said: “There’s been an increase in large groups of youths travelling between here and Balloch, but with that obviously comes large congregations of youths, alcohol and all the associated problems that come with it.

“At the moment this is the focus for us because the vast majority of the problems that we have been having have been on this line.

“Our focus, of course, is anti-social behaviour right across the Scottish network, but for the minute, in terms of partnership working with the Travel Safe Team, this will be the main focus.”

Increased patrols will see BTP officers stationed on key routes and stations with the aim of making the network safe to travel on.

Kevin Culbert, a member of the ScotRail Travel Safe Team working on the Balloch line, says he feels the initiative has made an impact already.

He said: “Over the last two weeks it’s definitely made an impact. There have been no real issues with any cancellations or late running trains due to anti-social behaviour, which makes a big difference.

“Feedback has been very positive. Everybody’s feeling a bit more comfortable at work. Passengers have commented that they feel really safe.

“Our purpose is to support passengers or anyone who isn’t feeling comfortable.”