Trains between Dorset and Somerset are set to be affected by important rail improvement schemes.

Network Rail is undertaking essential maintenance at Dorchester West as well as a number of stations in Somerset.

As a result Great Western Railway (GWR) will be unable to operate services between Weymouth and Yeovil Pen Mill between Saturday, September 24 and Friday, September 30.

Trains running from Bristol Temple Meads and Weymouth will terminate at Yeovil Pen Mill with replacement bus services then running to Dorchester West and Weymouth.

South Western Railway trains to Weymouth, Upwey and Dorchester South will remain unaffected whilst GWR services can travel on SWR routes via Southampton Central.

Ben Scott, GWR’s station manager for Westbury, Wiltshire and Dorset, said: “This upgrade work will help to reduce the risk of any issues developing with the track or vital structures that might affect our services on the Heart of Wessex line.

“Unfortunately, this will mean that we won’t be able to operate trains between Yeovil Pen Mill and Weymouth for seven days and buses will replace those trains.

“SWR will still run train services between Weymouth, Upwey and Dorchester South and they have agreed to accept GWR tickets on their trains as an alternative.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience in bearing with us during this planned engineering work by Network Rail to upgrade an important rail link.”

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “I’m really pleased our upgrade of the Heart of Wessex line is continuing and although we are taking a full week to do the work, it will result in much less disruption for passengers overall.

“That’s not just because doing the work this way means we’re avoiding having to close the railway over many more weekends, but because the new track will be much more reliable too. 

“The old-style track isn’t good at coping with high temperatures as it expands so much in the heat and it means we have to put severe speed restrictions in place, delaying passengers. 

“The new track is part of an upgrade that will allow us to continue serving passengers on this line during hot weather conditions. Further work is due for completion in February and March next year, ready for the summer.”

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