It will be no change on Dorset rail services as planned timetable alterations for later in the year have been postponed.

It has been announced that changes to timetables due to be made in December have been postponed for eight operators – including Dorset rail firms South Western Railway (SWR) and First Great Western – following the chaos which came after schedule alterations on May 20.

A "more cautious approach" will be taken to ensure passengers can "plan their journeys with confidence", industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said.

The Government has "accepted the rail industry's recommended approach", the RDG added.

As reported, SWR rethought its controversial proposals to shake-up services on the Weymouth-Waterloo line due to be introduced in the December timetable. It followed a public outcry over the move, which would have seen the number of trains from Weymouth to London halved.

However SWR did propose some other alterations which it said would be a boost for passengers.

SWR said in a statement it was "disappointed" that it will not be going ahead with its "major timetable change" in December, which would have led to extra services and more capacity throughout the day.

The decision was taken "at a national level that a period of stability is needed", it added.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said the timetable announcement is a "pragmatic step to help maintain a more dependable service" but warned that "long-suffering passengers who have put up with much inconvenience ... will be disappointed that promised improvements may be delivered more slowly".

Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, the Government-owned company for managing Britain's rail infrastructure, said the industry has "scaled back its ambition" after taking into account "recent painful lessons".

He went on: "While there will still be new services introduced this December, other new services will now be introduced more gradually over the next few timetable changes to help smooth their introduction and maintain a reliable service for passengers and businesses alike."

RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said: "In parts of the country, many people have suffered unacceptable disruption following the introduction of the new timetable in May for which we are sincerely sorry.

"Working together, the industry is determined to learn the lessons from what went wrong."

The announcement means returning to confirming timetables 12 weeks ahead will take longer than planned, and is now not expected to happen until May next year.