THERE will be no silent night for long-suffering Moses Gate residents this Christmas after rail bosses announced electrification work near the homes would continue over the festive period.

And, in further bad news, the reopening of Moses Gate bridge has again been put back — with Network Rail blaming cold weather and high winds for the latest delay.

The network has been carrying out electrification work at Moses Gate as part of its Great North Rail project since the summer of last year.

Residents have complained of late night noise and traffic problems and also worry the heavy drilling could be causing structural damage to their homes.

Those living in properties close to the railway access point have now received a letter advising them that Network Rails intends to continue working throughout the Christmas period.

Michelle Fitton, who lives in Ivanhoe Court, said the news was ‘the final straw’.

She said: “I can’t understand why they’re making that decision when we’ve had to put up with it for so long.

"You would think that, just over Christmas, they would give us a bit of a reprieve, but obviously not."

Ms Fitton has booked extra time off to enjoy a relaxing festive period, only to find it coincides with when Network Rail intend to work.

She added: "We’ve had it all over every single bank holiday, but I didn’t think for a million years they would start work over Christmas. I think they would think about it and have more consideration for people living in the area and give us a bit of a break."

She continued: “I honestly don’t think they care. They are going to do what they want, when they want. They don’t care about residents, that’s the impression I get.

“They ruined all summer with us not sleeping at night. I can’t cope with it over Christmas."

Moses Gate bridge, which takes traffic over the line, was damaged by a water main burst in August and is yet to fully reopen.

Network Rail bosses say that 'recent poor ground conditions, cold weather and high winds' have hampered progress with the emergency repairs.

A spokesman said: "The freezing conditions have meant the concrete, which is poured into 20m deep piles, was not setting as it should. This is something we have to get absolutely right as part of the repairs.

"We are meeting with our contractors to look at how we can make up any lost time so we can remain on target to reopen the road in February.”

But Cllr David Chadwick, Bolton council’s cabinet member for highway and transport, says he understands the bridge may not fully reopen until May and has criticised Network Rail for a ‘feeble procession of excuses’ .

He said: “I get quite angry that the local authority have been informed on a number of occasions on various time scales. The last time scale was February, and we are now talking about pushing back a further three months.

“When I look at the email I’ve received, I’m getting increasingly frustrated as are our highways engineers. This is a major route through Farnworth to Bolton and is causing increasing inconvenience to residents and to commuters.

“Some of the excuses I’ve heard are just appalling. They are blaming high winds and I can’t recall that many incidents of high winds. It’s appalling we can’t get this situation right. We, as a local authority, want this back in use as soon as possible.”

He continued: “As a local authority we are trying to move forward, as you would expect. But every time we think we’ve cracked it, the rug is pulled from underneath us. I think it’s time Network Rail sorted this problem out.

He continued: “I just don’t accept all these excuses such as because it’s gone colder they can’t certify the concrete, because you put some kind of substance in to counteract that.

“And the excuse they hit some hard ground – good god, you are talking about civil engineers, they should be able to drill through hard rock to get these piles in place."

Cllr Chadwick, who also sits on the Transport for Greater Manchester committee, added: "I’m getting incredibly angry that all we are getting is a procession of feeble excuses as to why they are not meeting the deadline and it’s going further and further back. It’s causing the authority a major problem.

"It's very frustrating. I just wish Network Rail would get its act together."