Anger at work on closed Suffolk rail line planned for the middle of night
PUBLISHED: 13:15 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 21 November 2019
Furious residents of a Suffolk town have been warned that Network Rail is preparing to cut back bushes and trees near their homes - in the middle of the night.
What has angered the Leiston householder is that the work is being done to keep the mothballed Sizewell branch open - but no trains have been seen on it for months.
Hayley Trueman from Westward Ho in Leiston lives next to the line and outlined their frustration: "We have no objection to cutting back the trees and bushes. We all understand why the line has to be kept clear for the future.
"But the letter says the work will be carried out between 11.55pm and 5.55am on four nights from November 24. Why are they disturbing us all then? Why can't they do this during the day - no one can remember the last time a train came along here."
The Sizewell branch which runs through Leiston is all that remains of the Aldeburgh branch line from Saxmundham which was closed to passengers in 1965 following the publication of the Beeching Report two years earlier.
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It remained open as far as the edge of Leiston to carry nuclear waste from the Sizewell A power station and to take building material for Sizewell B. The line is being kept open in case it is needed for the construction of Sizewell C but it is not currently in use.
The letter from Network Rail warning residents of the work was dated November 7 - but it only arrived at the beginning of this week.
A Network Rail spokesman said: "We are sorry for any inconvenience caused to local residents. We needed to cut back the vegetation because of the high level of growth over the summer. Carrying out this work at night was the safest and most efficient option.
"There are 11 foot crossings and several road crossings that must be closed to allow the work to take place safely. We needed to avoid disrupting members of the public who regularly use the crossings during the day.
"For residents living close to the line we will try to keep disturbance to a minimum when carrying out the vegetation work".
There are two road level crossings and one pedestrian crossing in Leiston itself from which Ms Trueman was able to take pictures safely because there are no trains.