Sleep-deprived north-east residents claim their homes have been left uninhabitable amidst months of noisy construction work on a multi-million-pound rail improvement project.
Neil Hardie and his neighbours in Kintore say the work is so loud they have been forced to stuff towels behind their radiators to stop them vibrating in the middle of the night.
Mr Hardie, a director of oil and gas company Blue Mantra International, said he is frequently awoken during the hours of darkness by drilling, hammering and the heavy machinery being used just outside his window by Network Rail staff.
They are working on the giant Aberdeen to Inverness improvement project.
Mr Hardie, who lives on Kingsfield Road, said the problem has become so bad that a number of residents believe their homes are “uninhabitable”.
Some people have even been forced to spend the night elsewhere just to get a peaceful night’s sleep.
On one occasion last week, he filmed workmen from his home, banging heavy tools and running a noisy generator just outside his window, before the sun rose.
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Mr Hardie said that although he and his family and neighbours are keen to see the work completed to improve train connections for Kintore, the residents of the Aberdeenshire community have gone off the rails at the lack of sleep.
He said: “I cannot stress enough the health impact this had had on myself and my neighbours.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that we are quite simply at breaking point.
“We have been living with this noise disruption since the end of November and most of us have not had a full night’s sleep since January.
“Our homes have now become uninhabitable and many of us are being forced to sleep elsewhere, yet we have had no offer of compensation or reimbursement from Network Rail despite the enormous savings that will be being made by them from working through the night.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said that due to the scale and intricacies of the improvement project, the work is unable to be carried out “without some disruption”.
“The work we are undertaking in Kintore is vital to the overall project to double-track the railway between Aberdeen and Inverurie,” he said.
“We understand the inconvenience this work is causing to some residents, and we are in direct contact with them regarding their concerns.
“We are working to complete these projects as quickly as possible, but unfortunately such a significant and complex piece of engineering cannot be completed without some disruption.
Work on the next phase of the major rail project to cut journey times between the north-east and the Highlands will begin next month.
A total of £300 million is being invested in dualling the track between Aberdeen and Inverness, adding thousands more seats and increasing the number of services.
The line between Aberdeen and Dyce was twin-tracked over 14 weeks last year.
Improvements have already been completed between Elgin and the north, and now Network Rail is getting ready to carry out major works from May 4 until August from Dyce to Inverurie.
Billy McKay, senior programme manager for the project, said: “The first phase was from Aberdeen up to Dyce and the second phase, which we’re just about to enter at the moment, is a 15-week blockade from Dyce to Inverurie.
“What we plan to do there is install 16 miles of new track, 39,000 new sleepers and 120,000 tonnes of new ballast and around carry out 19 bridge refurbishments and replacements, including strengthening works on the historic Don Viaduct.
“What we’ll get at the end of this is additional seats, faster services and improved connectivity for the north of Scotland.
“We’re still on programme and we’ll be taking advantage of this long Easter weekend to do a lot of pre-work, closing the line between Dyce and Inverurie to do some bridge replacement in advance of the 15-week shutdown from May 4.
“All the advance works we’ve done so far have put us in a really strong position to achieve the commissioning by August this year.”