FAMILIES had to be evacuated and dozens of trains halted when a massive blaze hit a recycling plant.

More than 60 firefighters spent hours fighting the flames, which ripped through the yard of the WRC Recycling plant in Floors Street, Johnstone.

Giant bundles of plastic burned well into the night and nearby homes had to be evacuated.

This morning four appliances were still on the scene damping down the affected area, but these were later reduced to two and the families were allowed home.

However, train services were still severely affected and Network Rail said about 200 yards of wire would have to be replaced, meaning further disruption for travellers.

The plant is close to the rail line between Johnstone and Milliken Park and the service was suspended during the drama, which began at 5.30pm yesterday.

This resulted in a knock-on effect for rail services to Paisley Gilmour Street, and from Glasgow Central to Ayr, Largs and Ardrossan.

At the height of the blaze, the sky was lit up by flames and thick smoke filled the air.

WRC owner Robert Capper said: "Thankfully, it has not spread to the building, as there is a lot of expensive equipment there."

Train lines beside the blaze have been damaged and alternative transport was being provided to travellers today.

Network Rail said: "Overhead line staff are assessing the extent of the damage. An initial inspection suggests about 200 yards of wire requires to be replaced, although further damage is expected.

"Both lines will remain closed until repairs are carried out."

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

mattie.sutton@ eveningtimes.co.uk