Sleep deprived householders hit out at overnight drilling near station

Those living on surrounding streets say the overnight drilling work by Network Rail started on Sunday, April 14 with Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran describing the levels of disruption as “unacceptable”.

Network Rail has been carrying out works as part of a £161m upgrade for the city’s rail station since April last year.

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These improvements include replacing the rail bridge and moving utility cables in Botley Road so that a new western entrance to the station can be built.

The road has been shut at the rail bridge since the work began and is not expected to reopen again until October.

The overnight work involves driving 40 piles into the ground as work begins on the foundations of a new platform, according to letters seen by the Oxford Mail.

Oxford Mail: The works in Botley Road The works in Botley Road (Image: Newsquest)Network Rail has apologised for the level of disruption caused, stating the work required can only be carried out at night when trains are not running. 

One resident who lives in Abbey Road, who has asked to remain anonymous, claimed the works started at 12.30am and did not finish until 5am one night. 

She said: “We had no warning.

“It woke us up and we didn’t know what was happening. We thought it was an earthquake. The windows and doors were shaking. The bed even shakes.

“I have been sleep deprived now for over a week. It’s only be a couple of night it hasn’t happened.

“And when it doesn’t happen you don’t know when it is going to start again so you are waiting on edge.

“The whole thing has been a bit of a nightmare. Our dog has had a few accidents because she is scared. It is like fireworks.”

Another resident David, who did not give his surname, said: “It was annoying the first night it happened but we put some ear plugs in.

Oxford Mail: Major works have been taking place for months at the train station Major works have been taking place for months at the train station (Image: Newsquest)“The second night we noticed it my wife was particularly concerned. It woke her up at 4am in the morning on a Sunday which is probably the most inconvenient and unexpected time for it.”

Andy Jones, the manager at the Westgate Hotel near the works, told the Oxford Mail he has had to reduce prices by up to 30 per cent due to the surrounding roadworks.

Mr Jones said: “The pile drilling they are doing at the train station is very loud. Local residents would have noticed it more than anything that has been going on previously.

Oxford Mail: Andy Jones Andy Jones (Image: Newsquest)“The real concern for us is that people come here for a good night’s sleep and if they can’t, we are in a real pickle.

“We tried to fight heavily over the overnight work.”

The hotelier said he has given advance warning to guests but sometimes there is unexpected work which takes them by surprise.

Mr Jones added: “We are worried there will be a lot more overnight work and unhappy customers.”

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Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran said: “One resident has been in touch with me about this issue. I have asked Network Rail to engage with them as a matter of urgency.

“The closure has caused significant disruption for people living and working in Botley, Cumnor, and surrounding areas and many communities feel completely cut off.

“I share residents and businesses’ anger and frustration and regularly raise their issues with Network Rail and Ministers. 

“The levels of disruption we have seen are unacceptable and residents in and around Oxford deserve better.”

Oxford Mail: Works taking place in Botley Road Works taking place in Botley Road (Image: Newsquest)

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We’re sorry for any disturbance our work is causing.

“As part of our multi-million pound project to deliver a bigger and better station and railway for Oxford, we’re currently drilling long steel piles into the ground to form the foundations for the station’s new platform.

“Unfortunately, this is noisy work, but we are doing everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum, including using noise barriers around the work site and noise blankets on the machinery.

“As the work site is very close to the track, the piling can only be done at night while passengers and trains aren’t using the station.

Oxford Mail: The works have been causing sleepless nights, householders have said The works have been causing sleepless nights, householders have said (Image: Newsquest)

“We have been keeping residents informed, letting them know in advance that the work would be taking place.

“We have also been in contact with the city council environment team who have approved the measures we’re taking to try to reduce disruption as much as we can.

“But we fully appreciate that this work is noisy so we’re very sorry for the disruption and assure local residents that we are doing all we can to get to get the piling work finished as quickly as possible.”

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