Passengers in Weymouth, Dorchester and Yeovil are advised to check their train journeys before travelling as a huge improvements project will begin on Thursday the 18th of November and will last until Friday the 3rd of December.
The project will see major work undertaken on the ‘Heart of Wessex’ line which connects Weymouth and Bristol. Around five miles of track replacement will be taking place in the Maiden Newton, Chetnole and Yetminster areas as part of the project and will mean a 16-day closure for the line with buses replacing Great Western Railway (GWR) services throughout the closure.
The Chetnole area was supposed to be getting new track installed during the late May Bank Holiday, however work was postponed as large passenger numbers were predicted due to the hot weather and the end of lockdown restrictions.
The line from Weymouth to Wool will be closed on Monday the 22nd of November, with the line from Weymouth to Dorchester South closing on Tuesday the 23rd until Friday the 26th of November with buses replacing South Western Railway (SWR) services throughout this time.
Over the five days of improvements on the line from Weymouth to Dorchester South and Wool, engineers will work on track, points and drainage which will mean that a speed restriction can be removed and will keep trains on time between Weymouth and Upwey.
The large improvements project will also see work in Bincombe tunnel which is located between Upwey and Weymouth while Damer’s Road bridge in Dorchester will also undergo repair work.
The improvement work will bring benefits for passengers with both track and stations seeing work undertaken. Weymouth and Upwey stations will be cleaned, repainted and see litter and weeds removed and new paving on platforms installed.
Summary of Line Closures:
- Line from Weymouth to Yeovil Pen Mill will close between Thursday 18 November and Friday 3 December
- Line from Weymouth to Wool will be closed on Monday 22 November
- Line from Weymouth to Dorchester South will close between Tuesday 23 and Friday 26 November
Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “We’re making major improvements to the railway between Weymouth, Yeovil Pen Mill and Wool to provide our passengers with more reliable train services and better journeys.
“Sixteen days is a long time to close the railway, but it is the best way to ensure all of our work between Weymouth and Yeovil Pen Mill is completed while causing the least amount of disruption possible. Within those sixteen days we’re also closing the line from Weymouth to Dorchester South, for five days, when we’ll be carrying out important work to keep trains on time and reduce delays.
“We recommend that our passengers plan well ahead, as some replacement bus journeys may take significantly longer.”
James Wilcox, GWR station manager for Westbury, Wiltshire and Dorset, said: “This temporary period of disruption is for essential rail improvement work to maintain our train services between Weymouth and Bristol Temple Meads.
“For GWR, it will protect the use of the route between Somerset and Dorset for the future and safeguard the line for customers travelling by rail in the region.
“We are grateful that Network Rail agreed to move the planned engineering work in Chetnole from earlier in the year to a quieter period, in order to help minimise any disruption to passengers.”
Alan Penlington, SWR’s customer experience director, said: “The work Network Rail are carrying out is good news for our customers as it will improve journeys by increasing reliability and removing speed restrictions that can often cause delays.
“We recognise these works will be disruptive, so we’d ask anyone who’s traveling to plan ahead to see if their journey is affected. Replacement buses will be in operation meaning journeys will take longer. I’d like to thank customers for their patience and understanding whilst these essential works are carried out.”
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