Monday 20 Nov 2023
One week to go before Network Rail carries out vital reliability upgrades to the West of England line between Salisbury to Yeovil Junction which will see the line closed for 16-days
Network Rail is reminding customers to plan ahead and check before they travel as buses replace South Western Railway trains between Salisbury to Yeovil Junction from Saturday 25 November.
The 16-day closure between Salisbury and Yeovil Junction will take place in just under one week from Saturday 25 November to Sunday 10 December.
Around 1280m of track between around Tisbury and Sherborne and 457m of track running through Gillingham station platform one will be replaced and then recycled. Engineers will also be clearing vegetation between Tisbury and Gillingham, completing level crossing maintenance at Wyley and Castleton level crossing and stabilising earthworks by Gillingham tunnel.
As part of the wider programme to improve reliability on the West of England line, Network Rail engineers successfully carried out further track work earlier this month between Yeovil Junction and Axminster.
Engineers worked around the clock, completing key upgrades at four different worksites as part of a wider half a million-pound investment to improve reliability and performance along the West of England line.
The five-day closure involved engineers working at Crewkerne tunnel, where they continued efforts to stabilise the cutting following a landslip in October 2021, as well as install specialist six-metre-long soil nails into the earth just outside the tunnel entrance, alongside new drainage to help reduce the impact of heavy rainfall.
Other work included replacing the barriers at Broom and Axe level crossing, painting Weycroft River Bridge with a protective, anti-corrosion paint, and removing wet beds (areas of waterlogged track stones that cause rough rides for trains) at Crewkerne level crossing.
Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “I’m really pleased to see work progressing to improve reliability of the West of England line.
"Over the past three years, we’ve worked really hard to improve the resilience of the line by strengthening the cuttings and renewing old worn-out sections of track.
"This closure will enable our engineers to continue these important upgrades as part of our continued programme of investment on this line. I fully recognise that every time we close the railway it is disruptive for our customers, and we always work hard to find the time when it inconveniences the least number of people.
"These upgrades are crucial for the safe and reliable running of services on the West of England line in the future and I’m grateful to customers for their patience and understanding during this time.”
Peter Williams, South Western Railway's customer and commercial director, commented: “The closures on the West of England Line in November and December will allow Network Rail to carry out vital maintenance and improve reliability and performance on this part of our network.
“While the line between Salisbury and Yeovil Junction will be closed between Saturday 25 November and Sunday 10 December, customers will still be able to travel on our services between London Waterloo and Exeter St Davids, as services will be diverted via Westbury.
“Rail replacement bus services will be in place for customers travelling to Tisbury, Gillingham, Sherborne and Templecombe. Customers are also advised that services between London Waterloo and Salisbury, Basingstoke and Salisbury, Yeovil Junction and Exeter St Davids, and Reading and Salisbury, will all be altered over these 16 days.
“We appreciate our customers’ patience and advise them to check before travelling at southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey.”
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.