WEYMOUTH is on track for a high-speed summer as slick express trains bring tourists to the resort.
High Speed Trains (HST) normally seen on mainline services between London and major cities will be used for a Saturday special from Bristol to Weymouth this summer.
It is part of a range of improvements by operator First Great Western.
Although it will be unlikely for HSTs to reach express speeds on the rural Bristol branch – which is mostly single line between Weymouth and Castle Cary – the introduction of longer and more comfortable trains for the summer is a welcome boost for day-tripping families.
Traditionally known as the ‘bucket and spade train’, the Saturday trip from Bristol is an additional service in the summer timetable, bringing hundreds of people to Weymouth at a time. Leaving Bristol at just after 9am, it allows people to spend a day at the seaside before making the return journey home at teatime.
This will be the first time prestigious HSTs have been used for the May-September bucket and spade train. They made an appearance in Weymouth in summer 2012 hauling special Olympic spectator trains.
Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Ray Banham said: “This is great news.
“It’s fabulous for the passengers who will be coming here and for us as a town where they will be spending their money.
“Many people from Bristol and Somerset spend their holidays in Weymouth and a lot of them come on the train. With the introduction of the HST on the line it may even encourage more people to visit.”
The HST, known by its brand name of InterCity 125 when introduced by British Rail in the 1970s, operates up to 125mph. It holds the record for being the fastest diesel powered train in the world at 148mph.
First Great Western said it has reached agreement with the Department for Transport on a number of timetable changes being introduced in May.
These changes will provide for additional strengthening of services across the West of England.
A spokesman said: “Features include the use of a High Speed Train on the Bristol-Weymouth route on summer Saturdays to provide more capacity to and from the coast.”