WORK has finally begun to renovate an old section of railway track in Weymouth as part of a £1m upgrade to the town's station.

The former rail track between King Street and the Jubilee Retail Park, part of the old harbour tramway, is being transformed into a new cycle and pedestrian link and Rail Heritage Park.

The work which Dorset Coast Forum, the company coordinating the work, said would originally start during March, began yesterday on Tuesday, May 10 and is predicted to take around four to five weeks to complete, during which the current path will be closed to the public.

The Rail Heritage Park is being made to retain the tracks and to give residents and tourists a reminder of the contribution the railway once made to Weymouth. It will run alongside a new walkway and cycle link from the narrow area between two major business areas.

A spokesperson for Dorset Coast Forum said: "This work should last around 4-5 weeks when final surfacing will be completed in both the station forecourt pedestrian area and Rail Heritage Park at the same time. Please be aware that the current path from King Street to the Jubilee Retail Park will be closed during this period.

"Like the station, the new park will certainly make a difference and once developed will be an attractive, green and welcoming Railway Heritage Park (also referred to as Pocket Park) for all to enjoy.

"Railway Heritage information to recognise the contribution the railway made to Weymouth over the years will be displayed in the station forecourt, as well as locations where the tramlines exist, at the new Railway Heritage Park, an area called ‘the Loop’ by Cosens Quay and the peninsula side of the Quay. The heritage information designs are being developed to create artistic, contemporary and colourful designs with life size characters to represent the heritage and link in with other sites around the town."

The improvements form part of a wider £1m upgrade to Weymouth railway station which also includes a new forecourt, a new transport link and a resurfaced car park.

The project was given the go-ahead in October despite drawing criticism from councillors who described the scheme as ‘half baked’ and 'falling short' of what the town needs.