Residents say they ‘haven’t had a good nights sleep in nine years’

By Maurice Garvey

A WOMAN who lives beside an Irish Rail track in Ballyfermot says she hasn’t got a good night’s sleep in years – claiming the noise from the trains increased after shrubbery at the back of her home was cut down.

Approximately nine years ago, shrubbery between the back gardens of 16 homes on Cloverhill Road in Cherry Orchard (uneven numbers 45-75), was cut down to make way for two additional tracks for the Kildare Route Project Phase 2.

Train Mary Farrell 03

A train passing by the back of the houses

Work has yet to begin on the two new tracks.

The Echo spoke to Cloverhill Road resident Mary Farrell and a number of her neighbours, all of whom say the shrubbery at the back of their gardens acted as a sound barrier, and it’s loss has significantly increased noise levels and affected their quality of life.

This is disputed by Irish Rail, who told The Echo there was “never a dedicated sound barrier at this location”.

“There may have been shrubbery, but this would have done little to attenuate the noise,” said an Irish Rail spokesperson.

Ms Farrell said: “I have been living here for 34 years, longer then they are working in Irish Rail, it is so wrong what they are saying.

“I think they only removed the shrubbery at this section because we are close to Le Fanu bridge. People living further up the road think ‘what are we on about’, but it affects everything in your life. You would have to see it to believe it. Imagine yourself standing on a platform. The noise comes in under the floors.

“Before, I was working and had other things going on, but now it’s just constant. About 72 trains pass by each day, counting return journeys. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in nine years. The older CIE workers had respect for residents, and wouldn’t be beeping in the middle of estates. Now, they don’t seem to mind.”

In 40 minutes at Mary’s house on Tuesday evening between 4.32pm and 5.12pm, 12 trains passed by.

Trains beeping 

Mary has videos on her phone of trains beeping as they pass through close to midnight – Irish Rail say drivers “sound their hooters for safety reasons”.

Another resident Danielle McGuinness, who has lived on the road for 20 years, said the worst part is nighttime cleaning works on the track.

“We noticed a big change when shrubs went. Especially when they are cleaning at night. You have a big machine and lights flashing, something should be done,” said Danielle.

Another resident and father, feels the noise isn’t fair on his kids, one of whom is currently studying for his Leaving Cert.

Irish Rail said they endeavour to keep night works to a minimum, “but unfortunately as it is a live railway some night works are inevitable”.

They say they have no plans to replace a sound barrier as “there was never a sound barrier at this location”.

With regard to previous works, Irish Rail said there was widespread consultation in advance of the railway order hearing and any member of the public was free to make a submission to the Railway Order Inspector.

Asked about the current status of the Kildare Route Project, Irish Rail said the four tracking of the section of track between Le Fanu road and Inchicore and the electrification of the line to Hazelhatch is provided for within the Government’s latest National Development Plan.

“The exact phasing of the work is subject to funding allocation and there will be a public consultation process before any work begins. We do not yet have details of service increases, but once electrification takes place, Dart type trains will operate to Hazelhatch, which are quieter that the current commuter diesel fleet.”

Mary said she isn’t looking for money.

“I already have double glazing, but we need a 10ft wall. The only peace is between 2am to 5am, but then there is also work taking place all night across the tracks at Park West.”

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