NOISY overnight engineering work on a main Hampshire rail route is set to last three months.

It will be carried by Network Rail out on the railway north from Shawford and through Winchester.

The company has written to more than 2,800 properties affected, alerting them to the disruption which will last until the end of March.

Network Rail admitted the work is noisy but say it is unlikely to be in the same location for more than a night or two.

The work involves ballast cleaning, which is carried out on the stones that support the track and sleepers. It is done to prevent the materials used in the ballast sticking together, making it like a lump of concrete which hinders track drainage.

A high output ballast cleaning train will remove the ballast and replace it with fresh material. A second train called a track renewal system will dig up old tracks and sleepers and replace them with new ones.

Kings Worthy parish councillor Jane Rutter, said: “What can you do, they have that authority to do these things and the railway line needs maintaining and they have to do it at times which are least disruptive to travellers.

“It is extremely unfortunate for people who live next to the line and I hope they keep the noise and disruption to to a minimum and have consideration for their neighbours.”

Shawford Parish Council chairman Mike Southgate said: “This looks like essential maintenance work which Network Rail are trying to undertake in the most efficient way and with minimal impact on service.”

“I am a great supporter of more investment in our rail infrastructure to reduce the number of HGVs on our roads and provide a reliable and safe railway.

“The disruption to individual houses would appear to only be for a night or two, therefore, as a neighbour and user of the railway its price I don’t mind paying.”

A spokesman for Network Rail, said: “Network Rail is sending two different factory trains to Hampshire over Christmas and onwards into 2016.

"These will dig up and relay the railway north from Shawford and through Winchester.

“These trains are self-contained “workshops on wheels” designed to relay hundreds of metres of track and the ballast stone the tracks sit on in each shift.

“By using these trains we can keep the railway open at weekends and do the track renewals overnight when trains are not running.

“This will provide passengers with a more reliable and comfortable railway."