RESIDENTS in North Oxford say they could be disturbed day and night for a decade by construction work on the high speed HS2 line.

Heavy freight trains carrying ballast could pass hundreds of homes north of the city each day once work on the £50bn link between London and the North gets under way.

People living in the area say they have uncovered documents revealing that “stone trains” will carry materials along the Oxford-Bicester line, bringing noise and “frightening levels” of vibration to residents in Wolvercote and North Oxford.

They understand the freight trains will be travelling to and from the HSE infrastructure maintenance depot at Calvert, east of Bicester, viewed as the centre of the construction operation.

For three years residents have been fighting against noise and vibrations from increased use of the upgraded Oxford-Bicester line, the first phase of the long-awaited East West Rail Link.

Their campaign led to Network Rail agreeing to move the location of points, and a revised track doubling scheme.

Campaigner Keith Dancey, of Upper Wolvercote, said: “Ballast from the HS2 line running from London to Birmingham is to be transported along the upgraded Oxford-Bicester line, apparently mostly at night.

“Very heavy spoil is also be be removed and distributed using the Oxford line.

“These very heavy freight trains are specified to be 750m long and will be travelling through Upper Wolvercote at 60mph, compared with 300m currently travelling with a 30mph limit. Frightening levels of vibration can be expected for 10 years.”

Work on the first leg of HS2 is expected to begin within two years. Paul Buckley, an emeritus professor of engineering science at Oxford University, has submitted a detailed briefing note to Oxford city councillors and officers.

Prof Buckley, of Lakeside, said: “These trains will pass through Upper Wolvercote and by Lakeside and will contribute significantly to noise and vibration suffered by residents close to the East West rail line.”

Oxford City Council’s west area planning committee is due to determine later this month whether measures to mitigate noise and vibration, resulting from extra services on the upgraded Oxford Bicester line, are adequate.

Planning officers are recommending approval of the noise and vibration schemes with independent experts appointed by the council finding the scheme now complies with planning conditions.

Prof Buckley added: “Oxford City Council has called on Network Rail to reduce train speeds through the Wolvercote section.”

He added: “Since vibration levels tend to fall if train speeds fall this could provide a solution.”

Alex Hollingsworth, city council board member for planning and transport, said: “Any proposal to use the route for delivering ballast for HS2 would need to go through a separate planning process.

Katherine Button, spokeswoman for HS2 Ltd, said: "HS2 Ltd, with colleagues at Network Rail, is developing a strategy to transport the building materials needed for HS2 on the existing network. Conversations are ongoing with partners along the lines of route and no final decisions have been made."