Gospel Oak’s Christmas Day peace to be shattered by ‘unfair’ rail work

The structures were earlier installed near Crouch Hill station

The structures were earlier installed near Crouch Hill station - Credit: Archant

Railway engineers working on Christmas Day will sound loud horns between Gospel Oak and Upper Holloway stations in a bid to finish Overground maintenance by February next year.

Residents near the line have been warned to expect “disruptive” noise day and night as Network Rail staff work 24/7 to install masts from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day.

The work is being carried out to hasten the electrification of the line, which runs from Gospel Oak to Barking, so quieter four-car trains with double the capacity can be introduced to the route by early 2018.

While the erection of the structures is not expected to be “overly noisy”, the sounding of a horn as vehicles move along the line will be noisy by necessity.

“It’s to alert the workers on the line every time the car moves,” Lara Correia, communications manager for the Gospel Oak to Barking electrification process, said.

“We have to do it because it’s a safety requirement, and that’s what will be most annoying rather than the construction work itself.”

But one mum of three who lives near the line said she is disappointed the work is being done on Christmas.

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“It’s a bit unfair, really,” Suky Grant, 42, said. “It should be a time for peace and reflection – it might kill the magic of Christmas.”

The Woodsome Road resident added that she appreciates the need to electrify the railway but said it would have been a “mark of respect” to “down tools” over Christmas.

She said: “I just hope it won’t wake up any young children.”

But Ms Correia said she “wishes” the company wasn’t working on Christmas Day.

“We just want to make the most of all our access,” she said. “We want to get the trains running as soon as we can.”

She added: “This is the home stretch. We understand people live very close to this railway but it’s a case of short-term pain for long-term gain.”

Though youngsters might be woken up by something other than Santa on Christmas Eve and the Queen’s Christmas message might be interrupted by a blaring horn, Network Rail has guaranteed residents that New Year’s Day will be free of any rail-related disturbance.

Later in January, however, a tamping train will be used to compress the track bed, with trains arriving at 6.30am and leaving at 10.30pm.

In a letter to residents living near the line, Network Rail explained: “This is one of the noisiest activities to take place on the railway.”

From today (Thursday), meanwhile, work will take place on the platforms at Gospel Oak and Upper Holloway stations.

This maintenance – though noisy – will not be carried on during Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

The letter added: “We will do everything in our power to minimise disruption but acknowledge that the nature of some work is noisy”.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Network Rail added: “Some of the work will be noisy, and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience while the work is carried out.”

Nearby, Holloway Road will be closed to all traffic from Christmas Eve until January 16.