Work on the railway around Templecombe, Gillingham and Sherborne has been completed by Network Rail.
In June, work was carried out to stabilise a railway cutting, upgrade stations and improve the track.
At Templecombe four-metre long steel nails were inserted into the cutting to help prevent any future landslips. In addition, a 40-metre long gabion wall was built. (using wire baskets filled with stone)
The slate roof at Sherborne station was replaced along with new paint for the platform and canopies. Platform 2 will be getting new cycle racks soon.
In the Gillingham area, 400 metres of new track were installed, along with a foot crossing which was upgraded at Bedmill.
The speed restriction in the area following the landslip last year can be removed soon which will allow the train to travel at up to 85mph.
Mark Killick, route director for Network Rail Wessex, said: “We’ve now completed our work on the West of England line, which will help to improve reliability for passengers and to protect the line from further landslips.
“We’ve taken advantage of the lower number of passengers travelling to carry out more work than planned and I would like to thank those who needed to travel for their patience while the work took place.
“The entire team and contractors have worked tirelessly to deliver a more reliable railway now and for years to come.”
Mike Houghton, Chief Operating Officer at South Western Railway, said: “Nine days of engineering works has seen the removal of a speed restriction which has been affecting customers’ journeys since the landslip in December. It’s great that trains can now run at the correct speed which will help improve performance and reliability for our customers.
Whilst the railway was closed, it was also possible to carry out additional works on our stations which will further improve the customer experience on this section of the line.”
Jas Rupra, Package Manager (Geotech Portfolio) for Osborne said: “It has been a tremendous collaboration between all the parties involved to plan and improve this route for passengers in the long term. It has been particularly rewarding to see how our project has helped the local economy in these extremely difficult times.
“Our key workers have been safely accommodated at the Yeovil Court and Lanes Hotels, providing a lifeline to those businesses and the many SME’s and individuals providing food and services to them”
Cllr Ray Bryan, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment at Dorset County Council, said: “Dorset Council welcome the improvements that South Western Railway and Network Rail have made to Sherborne Station which includes repainting the canopy, repairs to the station building roof and vegetation clearance along with much needed engineering works on the West of England Line.
“These will significantly improve the customer experience for rail passengers and we look forward to working with both organisations on providing additional cycle parking which has been an aspiration of local cycling groups and the Blackmore Vale Line Community Rail Partnership for a while”.
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