Rail noise keeping neighbours awake

Barbara Madden (right) pictured on Springfield Road, Blackpool, with fellow hoteliers

Barbara Madden (right) pictured on Springfield Road, Blackpool, with fellow hoteliers

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WEARY hoteliers and residents close to Blackpool North Train Station say they are being forced to endure sleepless nights while nocturnal station improvements are carried out.

They say they have had enough after repeated requests for the heavy drilling, carried out between 11.45pm and 4am four nights a week, to stop have been ignored.

The works are planned to continue for the next month at least.

Barbara Madden, who owns guesthouse Springfield Lodge in Springfield Road, said she is at her wit’s end over the problems.

She added: “We started complaining at Easter.

“We’ve spoken to the council, we’ve had the police out. They shouldn’t – and aren’t – allowed to do this. They’re only allowed to work at night like this if the work is vital for the lines – but it is improvement works to the station.

“I’ve had guests who have walked out.

“Nightclubs aren’t allowed to empty their bins after 11pm because of the noise – so why are they allowed to get away with this?”

Keith Muller, at Pride Lodge on High Street, added: “Network Rail told us they had permission to carry out this type of work but they haven’t.

“We understand they have to protect customers and staff during the day, but what about us?

“If it goes on like this, we’ll have to close the front of our building down.”

A Network Rail spokesman said they had taken action to address the residents’ concerns.

She added: “The work we’re doing to improve Blackpool North station is good news for passengers and visitors to the town, but we’re sorry to hear it is causing some disruption to our neighbours.

“We’ve worked closely with Environmental Health on this, and have taken a number of measures to reduce noise including using electric drills instead of air drills which are quieter and putting up boards to block sound.

“The alternative would be to close the station during the day, which would cause considerable disruption to the thousands of people visiting Blackpool and those who rely on the train service locally.”

Ward councillor Ivan Taylor said the right balance needed to be found

He added: “The problem is Network Rail want everything their own way.

“We appreciate they need to improve the station, but they’ll only do it at no inconvenience to themselves. I suggested working in twilight hours but they refused.

“It’s worrying because the holiday season is here.”

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for streets and transport at Blackpool Council, said they were working to keep issues to a minimum.

He added: “Council officers have visited the contractors following complaints from members of the public. We appreciate due to the nature of their work it isn’t possible to carry it out during the day but need to ensure the disruption is minimal.

“The contractors have started using quieter equipment and put hoardings in place to help block the noise. We’re satisfied they’re doing everything practical to tackle the problem but we’ll continue to monitor it.”

Anyone with issues can call the Network Rail national helpline on 08457 11 41 41 or email via the website www.networkrail.co.uk