PLAN AHEAD: Yeovil to Gillingham railway set to close for nine days

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Templecombe prep work
Credit: network rail

A section of railway between Somerset and Wiltshire is set to close for nine days from the 13th to the 22nd June to allow engineers to secure an embankment.

Thousands of tonnes of material will be removed following a landslip in December 2019 at Templecombe. A new retaining wall will also be built at the bottom of the slope to protect the line from further soil movement.

The work means that no South Western Railway trains will run between Yeovil Junction and Gillingham, and also no direct trains from London Waterloo to Exeter will run.

Trains between Exeter St Davids and Salisbury will be diverted via Westbury, and there is a rail replacement bus service between Salisbury and Gillingham.

Network Rail prep work for Templecombe embankment work
Credit: Network Rail

Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “I want to apologise for the disruption this will cause to passengers who do need to travel. When the work is complete, two-speed restrictions will be removed to provide improved journeys for passengers, as well as protecting the area from landslips in the future. I would urge people who do need to travel by rail, such as those who can’t work from home, to plan ahead and check before they travel.”

Alan Penlington, Southwestern Railway customer experience director, said: “We recognise these works will be disruptive, but it is vital they go ahead. The work Network Rail will carry out will remove damaging speed restrictions from the line, allowing our trains to run at planned speed, helping improve our performance.​ Alternative arrangements are in place, so we advise customers to check their journey before they travel.”​

Network Rail begin prep work for Templecombe embankment
Credit: Network Rail

More strengthening works will take place between the end of June and September.

Details of the changes to train services are below:

  • Monday-Saturday
    • No direct trains from London to Exeter.
      • Passengers should change at Salisbury to continue journeys.
    • Trains will run every two hours between Salisbury and Exeter Central.
      • These trains will be diverted via Westbury (non-stop) and Castle Cary (non-stop) and will call at Yeovil Junction, Crewkerne, Axminster and Honiton.
      • A shuttle train will run every two hours between Salisbury and Gillingham calling at Tisbury.
      • Rail replacement buses will operate every two hours between Gillingham and Yeovil Junction calling at Templecombe and Sherborne.
      • Currently, on the line, rail replacement buses operate between Honiton and Exeter St Davids (all stations), Monday to Saturday. This will continue during the work.
  • Sunday
    • Trains will run every two hours between London Waterloo and Exeter St Davids.
      • Trains will be diverted non-stop via Westbury and Castle Cary.
        • Trains will call at Yeovil Junction, Crewkerne, Axminster, Honiton, Cranbrook and Exeter Central.
      • A shuttle train will operate every two hours between Salisbury and Gillingham calling at Tisbury.
      • Rail replacement buses will operate every two hours between Gillingham and Yeovil Junction, calling at Templebome and Sherborne.

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