Heart of Wessex line reopens after upgrades

Heart of Wessex line reopens after upgrades

Network Rail has confirmed that the Heart of Wessex line between Yeovil and Pen Mill has reopened after a five-day closure to complete a series of renewals.

The railway reopened as planned on Saturday morning following the line being closed from Monday 16 to Friday 20 October. The team completed work on track replacement, replacing 758 metres of outdated track which dated from the 1950’s and bringing it in line with modern standards, helping with speed restrictions during warmer weather.

The team also renewed 1,800 metres of track through Thornford station in north Dorset, replacing the old wooden sleepers with new durable concrete sleepers, alongside refurbishment and repair of the Evershot tunnel, which included updating the brickwork.

The engineers also took advantage the closure to refurbish Maiden Newton station and install tactile paving at Yeovil Pen Mill train station and a comprehensive clearing of vegetation on certain sections of the rail infrastructure on the line.

This latest work follows upgrades completed earlier this year between February and March in which engineers successfully complete two back-to-back five-day closures between Castle Cary/Yeovil Pen Mill and Weymouth.

Oliver Frost, Network Rail project director, said: “I’d like to thank customers and local residents for their patience and understanding last week while we closed the railway between Yeovil Pen Mill and Weymouth to allow our engineers to complete a range of key upgrades to the Heart of Wessex line.

“We know how important this stretch of railway is and last week’s upgrades are the latest efforts in a three-year period in which we’ve invested a significant amount to bring smoother and more reliable journeys for our customers travelling between Somerset and Dorset.

“We recognise many customers will have been disrupted during last week’s extended closure for which we’re sorry. However, these slightly longer closures enable us to really maximise the opportunity to complete a wide range of upgrades in a more cost-effective way while reducing the need for the need for regular, smaller closures of the railway which would be more disruptive to customers.”

Photo: Network Rail

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