From Saturday, 25 November to Sunday, 10 December the line will be closed to allow engineers to replace around 1,280m of track between around Tisbury and Sherborne and 457m of through Platform 1 at Gillingham station.
They will also be clearing vegetation between Tisbury and Gillingham, carrying out maintenance on Wyley and Castleton level crossing, and stabilising earthworks next to Gillingham tunnel.
Earlier this month, Network Rail engineers carried out key upgrades at four different locations on the line between Yeovil Junction and Axminster as part of a wider programme to improve reliability on the West of England line. That work included stabilising a cutting at Crewkerne tunnel following a landslip in October 2021 by installing specialist six-metre-long soil nails into the earth just outside the tunnel entrance and installing new drainage to minimise the impact of heavy rainfall.
Whilst the line between Yeovil Junction and Axminster was closed the barriers at Broom and Axe level crossing were replaced, Weycroft River Bridge was painted with a protective, anti-corrosion paint, and waterlogged ballast at Crewkerne level crossing was replaced.
Mark Killick, Network Rail s Wessex route director, said: “I'm really pleased to see work progressing to improve reliability of the West of England line.
“Over the past three years, we've worked really hard to improve the resilience of the line by strengthening the cuttings and renewing old worn-out sections of track.
“This closure will enable our engineers to continue these important upgrades as part of our continued programme of investment on this line. I fully recognise that every time we close the railway it is disruptive for our customers, and we always work hard to find the time when it inconveniences the least number of people.
“These upgrades are crucial for the safe and reliable running of services on the West of England line in the future and I'm grateful to customers for their patience and understanding during this time.
Peter Williams, South Western Railway's customer and commercial director, commented: “The closures on the West of England Line in November and December will allow Network Rail to carry out vital maintenance and improve reliability and performance on this part of our network.
“While the line between Salisbury and Yeovil Junction will be closed between Saturday 25 November and Sunday 10 December, customers will still be able to travel on our services between London Waterloo and Exeter St David's, as services will be diverted via Westbury.
“Rail replacement bus services will be in place for customers travelling to Tisbury, Gillingham, Sherborne and Templecombe. Customers are also advised that services between London Waterloo and Salisbury, Basingstoke and Salisbury, Yeovil Junction and Exeter St David's, and Reading and Salisbury, will all be altered over these 16 days.
“We appreciate our customers patience and advise them to check before travelling at southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey.”