St Albans mum asks why Network Rail contractors need to chainsaw trees at 1am

Jemma Welsh

Jemma Welsh


A mum-of-two from St Albans has voiced her frustration with Network Rail after workmen began felling trees on the railway line next to her house at 1am last week.

Jemma WelshJemma Welsh

Jemma Welsh, who lives in Newland Close, a road that runs parallel to the Midland Main Line, said: “They just started chopping down trees at 1am [on Thursday, August 23]. No warning, no nothing. If I had known I could’ve stayed somewhere else for a few days.”

Jemma says she tried to approach the workmen and get more information.

However, she said: “The workmen just wouldn’t talk to me. I know that it’s not a safe environment to put down a chainsaw but they just ignored me.

“I completely appreciate that work needs to be done - my husband uses the line. I just want them to consider an alternative.”

Jemma WelshJemma Welsh

A handful of other residents left their houses in the middle of the night to see what the noise was, according to Jemma.

She explained: “It penetrates the whole house. I’ve got a two-year-old and a five-year-old and it woke both of them up.

“It can take several days to get over a really bad night’s sleep.”

Residents of Newland Close and neighbouring Mile House Close say they want Network Rail to consider alternatives to working between 12.45am and 5.30am which happens several times a year.

Jemma WelshJemma Welsh

Jemma said she would like to see the work completed off-peak on a Sunday evening with a rail replacement bus service in operation.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “Safety is our number one priority and for this reason a lot of our work is carried out while trains are not running.

“Whenever possible, we also work at times that cause the least disruption to train services and this means carrying out a lot of our improvements at night or at weekends.

“The equipment we use means some disturbance is unavoidable but we do make every effort to minimise any unnecessary noise. Those working on site are also briefed on working responsibly in the local community.

“We would like to apologise to residents for any inconvenience.”

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