PROUD workers at the St Rollox rail site vowed to fight on despite the last train rolling out of the Springburn factory.

A lone piper lead a procession of workers, devastated but with flags raised and heads held high, as they left the Caley for the final time on Friday moments after the last train departed.

Doors closed at the historic depot on Friday, bringing to an end163 years of operation, despite a valiant campaign to save the works.

Until now, the Caley has been used to carry out service, maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrades on trains for ScotRail.

After its closure, it is anticipated that the repair and maintenance once tethered to Glasgow will now be carried out in England.

Union members joined politicians, workers and their families at the gates of the depot to mark its final day of operation.

“I would rather fight defeat than not fight at all,” Les Ashton, the convenor of the Caley works told crowds gathered outside the depot. “We may have walked out of those doors today, but the fight continues.”

Workers were told in December that their current jobs were at risk, and the closure was not confirmed until three months later.

READ MORE: Workers leave Springburn St Rollox rail depot for last time as site faces closure

By then, the campaign to save the Caley was in full swing but attempts from trade unions and local politicians failed to hit home with operators Gemini Rail Services.

“It has been seven months of hard, hard campaigning,” Les explained. “This place has been here for over 160 years, and it just does not make sense for it to no longer exist.”

Although his redundancy is set for Wednesday, Les has a meeting scheduled with Scotland’s Transport minister Michael Matheson to discuss the site’s future that same day.

“We’ll just have to wait and see what comes of that,” Les laughed. “It just shows that we won’t back down from this fight. The site and the people are worth it.”

Almost 200 highly skilled jobs are set to be axed, and crowds watched solemnly as the last train from the current schedule of works left the depot.

“It’s nothing short of devastating,” one worker told The Evening Times. “One minute we were working, the next we were told we were closing. I really thought the campaign would work.

“Seeing that last train leave this morning – heart-breaking.

“Just heart-breaking.”

READ MORE: Pleas made to save Glasgow's St Rollox railyard site from closure

People travelled from across Scotland to Friday’s rally to support the workers and their families, in what they say it a heart-breaking time for the country.

For one 87-year-old worker, it has been more than two decades since he last worked in the depot, but he says his memories of the workplace are as strong as ever.

Donnie McKerral began working in Springburn at just 14-years-old and said that the closure was ‘incredibly sad’.

“I might not remember what day it is, but I do remember working here,” he told The Evening Times. “I ran the ambulance room, helped organise tournaments – there was a bit of everything here.

“It’s definitely a sad day for all of us.”

Local MP Paul Sweeney said the day hit particularly close to home, having grown up in a house affected by the decline of Glasgow’s shipping industry.

Tearing up at the rally, he told crowds gathered he will not stop fighting for the workers.

“It is such a great shame it came to this today,” he said. “This railway is a part of Springburn’s heritage. The whole of Springburn’s purpose revolved around the rail industry, and to see it close after all these years is just heart-breaking.

READ MORE: Scottish Government criticised over imminent closure of historic Caley railyard

“It is devastating to lose your job in any industry, but especially here where you’re making something tangible and you are passionate about the products you are creating.”

Scottish Labour backed calls from campaigners to the Scottish government to nationalise the doomed site. But both were met with the same reply; nationalisation is not an option.

Sweeney added: “Springburn has lost its soul tonight. These workers were not only skilled in their field, but also in educating young apprentices to pick up the trade that has defined the area in so many ways.”

Addressing the closure, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “It is clearly very disappointing that Gemini Rail commenced closure of the Springburn works and this is a very concerning time for the remaining staff and their families.

“However, Gemini has refused to postpone the closure.

“We will do everything we can to support affected workers through PACE employee support.”