Class 158 at Dorchester West

Planned engineering work on the Heart of Wessex line may affect your rail journey

Trains between Somerset and Dorset will be affected by important rail improvement schemes planned to take place later this month.

Network Rail is renewing the track between Maiden Newton and Chetnole stations as well as undertaking essential maintenance at Yeovil Pen Mill, Yetminster and Dorchester West.

As a result, Great Western Railway (GWR) will not be able to operate train services between Yeovil Pen Mill and Weymouth from Saturday 24 to Friday 30 September.

  • GWR trains between Bristol Temple Meads and Weymouth will terminate at Yeovil Pen Mill instead
  • South Western Railway (SWR) trains to Yeovil Junction via Yeovil Pen Mill will terminate at Castle Cary or Westbury
  • SWR trains for Weymouth and Upwey as well as Dorchester South will be unaffected
  • Customers with GWR tickets can travel on SWR services via Southampton Central
  • Replacement buses are planned to operate to stations between Yeovil Pen Mill, Dorchester West and Weymouth

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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.”

Further rail improvement work will affect trains in the Castle Cary area from Saturday 1 to Tuesday 11 October. Further details available here.

Contact Information

James Davis

Media Relations Manager

Great Western Railway

0845 410 4444

Notes to editors

First Greater Western Limited, trading as “Great Western Railway” (GWR), operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London. GWR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR was recently awarded an extension to its direct award franchise (called DA3), which shall run up to 31 March 2023, with an option to extend for a further year. Find out more here: