Complaints over noise on St Albans railway lines

A train goes past houses in Harpenden

A train goes past houses in Harpenden - Credit: Archant

Using chainsaws in the middle of the night to clear vegetation from railway tracks in St Albans has earned Network Rail a rap over the knuckles.

Residents have been complaining to St Albans district council about being kept awake by noisy engineering works.

The problem was raised at a recent full council meeting, where Cllr Chris White asked executive leader Cllr Julian Daly for his support in demanding an improvement in work practices and community relations from Network Rail and the Department of Transport.

Cllr White said Network Rail had a, “disturbingly cavalier attitude to the amount of disturbance it generates to local residents through night time engineering works. It needs to give proper notice to those likely to be disturbed.”

Cllr Daly said he too shared those concerns and the problem had recently been raised with Network Rail.

He said: “We have had 11 complaints relating to disturbances over the last 13 months. Complaint investigations identify a number of issues relating to how Network Rail communicates with our residents.”

However, Cllr Daly added: “Network Rail say that it is not always possible to give residents advance notice where they have to undertake emergency works.”

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The council said it had received complaints about vegetation being removed or cut back with chainsaws between 1-3am. There was no warning about the work and locals were annoyed also by noise from workers shouting to each other throughout the night.

The council received further complaints about cutting and grinding metal noise from near Victoria Street and maintenance works to replace overhead power lines south of the city station between 10pm and 5am, which overran by a month. Again, there had been no notification of the work’s extension.

The council called upon Network Rail to lessen complaints by notifying all residents potentially affected by works and to keep workers’ communication noise to a minimum.

It added that chainsaws and grinders should be used earlier in the evening.

Cllr Daly said the firm had responded “constructively” to the feedback.