Major engineering work starts this week and runs until 4 December that will provide better journeys for rail passengers in Weymouth, Dorchester and Yeovil.: Yetminster-3

Monday 15 Nov 2021

Major engineering work starts this week and runs until 4 December that will provide better journeys for rail passengers in Weymouth, Dorchester and Yeovil.

Region & Route:
Southern: Wessex
| Southern

Train services between Weymouth and Yeovil Pen Mill, Dorchester South and Wool will be affected by major improvements in November and December.

Passengers are reminded to plan ahead as work is delivered over 16 days in the Weymouth, Dorchester and Yeovil areas, beginning on Thursday 18 November.

The Heart of Wessex line, which connects Weymouth with Bristol Temple Meads, will undergo major surgery and buses will replace Great Western Railway (GWR) services throughout. Some journeys will take significantly longer than usual.

Engineers will work across eight sites on more than 30 different jobs. The main focus will be between Maiden Newton and Yetminster, where more than four miles of track will be replaced to improve reliability and provide smoother journeys.

Elsewhere, five days of maintenance between Weymouth, Dorchester South and Wool will take place to prevent speed restrictions being imposed and keep trains on time through Upwey.

Repairs will be carried out on Damer’s Road bridge in Dorchester and both Weymouth and Upwey stations will be repainted, cleaned and have improved paving installed.

South Western Railway (SWR) services from Weymouth to Wool will be replaced by buses on Monday 22 November. Buses will then replace services from Weymouth to Dorchester South from Tuesday 23 to Friday 26 November.

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “We’re making major improvements to the railway between Weymouth, Yeovil Pen Mill and Wool to provide our passengers with better, more reliable journeys.

“Sixteen days is a long time to close the railway, but it is the best way to ensure all of our work between Weymouth and Yeovil Pen Mill is completed during one closure, rather than across multiple weekends, while causing the least amount of disruption possible.

“Within those sixteen days, we’re also closing the line from Weymouth to Dorchester South for five days when we’ll be carrying out important work to keep trains on time and reduce delays.

“We recommend that our passengers should plan ahead and check the latest journey information as some replacement bus journeys may take significantly longer.”

GWR Station Manager for Westbury, Wiltshire and Dorset James Wilcox, said:

“We will continue to keep people moving, but I would encourage those who travel to check beforehand as departure times may be different to normal and journey times extended.

“This work is important to ensure we can continue to provide services between Somerset and Dorset that people can rely on and we thank customers for their patience during this time.

“We are also grateful that Network Rail agreed to move this planned engineering work from earlier in the year to a quieter period to help minimise any disruption to passengers.”

Christian Neill, SWR’s Customer Experience Director, said:

The work Network Rail is carrying out will mean big improvements for our customers. Not just a more reliable and resilient service, but visible improvements which include repainting at two of our stations.

“Closing the railway for such a long time is never a decision taken lightly and I realise this will mean significant disruption for our customers.  I’d like to remind anyone who’s traveling to plan ahead to see if their journey is affected as replacement buses will be in operation and journeys will take longer. I’d like to thank customers for their patience and understanding whilst these essential works are carried out.”

Passengers should plan ahead with National Rail Enquiries at

Notes to Editors

Notes to editors

  • The line from Weymouth to Yeovil Pen Mill will close between Thursday 18 November and Friday 3 December
  • The line from Weymouth to Wool will be closed on Monday 22 November and the line from Weymouth to Dorchester South will close between Tuesday 23 and Friday 26 November.
  • GWR buses calling at Dorchester West only are expected to take 1 hour and 2 minutes
  • GWR buses calling at all stations are expected to take 1 hour and 47 minutes
  • SWR buses between Weymouth and Wool are expected to take 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • SWR buses between Dorchester South and Weymouth are expected to take 20 minutes

The new track between Weymouth and Yeovil Pen Mill is the latest in a series of improvements for the Heart of Wessex Line. It follows installation of a new bridge at Yetminster in February 2019 and track maintenance at Yeovil Pen Mill station in March 2021.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Scott Wilson
Media Manager
Network Rail
07395 389658

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