Rail passengers are warned part of the Weymouth to Bristol line will be closed next week as sections of track which are more than 60 years old are replaced.

From Monday, October 16 to Friday, October 20 buses will replace Great Western Railway (GWR) trains between Weymouth, Dorchester West and Yeovil Pen Mill.

This is the second stage of major engineering work on the 'Heart of Wessex' line this year by Network Rail in a bid to ensure "smoother and more reliable journeys" on the route.

GWR said buses will be provided between Weymouth, Dorchester West and Yeovil throughout the week. Passengers can also use tickets on South Western Railway (Weymouth-Waterloo line) services.

Engineers will be working around the clock during a five-day closure of the railway to replace around 758 metres of outdated 1950s track between Maiden Newton and Chetnole.

The old-style track needs to be renewed and brought up to modern standards to help reduce the number of speed restrictions that are put in place during warmer weather, helping ensure customers enjoy smoother and more reliable journeys in the future.

Alongside this, engineers will also be erecting scaffolding at Evershot tunnel to repair and repoint the brickwork.

This latest work follows upgrades completed between February and March in which engineers completed two back-to-back five-day closures between Weymouth, Yeovil and Castle Cary.

During this time, Network Rail took advantage of the extended line closure to complete multiple improvements, including:

• Renewing over 1,800 metres of track through Thornford station and replacing old wooden sleepers with new, more durable concrete sleepers

• Refurbishing Maiden Newton station including repairing the canopies and giving the station building a fresh lick of paint

• Installing new tactile paving at Yeovil Pen Mill station

• Clearing overgrown vegetation and completing maintenance on key pieces of railway infrastructure along the line

Oliver Frost, Network Rail project director, said: “We’re looking forward to continuing our programme of work to improve the reliability of the Heart of Wessex line.

“This is an important stretch of railway and over the last three years we’ve invested a significant amount to bring smoother and more reliable journeys for our customers travelling between Somerset and Dorset

"These slightly longer line closures enable us to carry out a wider range of work simultaneously which prevents the need for regular, smaller closures of the railway which would be more disruptive to customers.

“I’d like to thank customers and nearby residents in advance for their patience and understanding while we complete this work.”