New-Track-Construction-train-in-action-at-Chetnole, via Network Rail

Vital track maintenance along the Heart of Wessex Line

The track route between Maiden Newton and Chetnole in Cattistock on the Heart of Wessex line will see around one mile worth of track replacement, seeing the works conducted this September via a team of Network Rail engineers. This will see closures to the railway from Saturday 24 until Friday 30 September

The old, 1950’s-style line will require essential maintenance works to supply smoother journeys for passengers. The dated infrastructure has an old-style jointed track which needs special care in hot conditions, as it can lead to speed restrictions being implemented when temperatures rise, notable especially during the recent heatwaves. The scheduled upgrade works will signify greater reliability amongst passenger travel, greatly reducing the need for speed restrictions.

Whilst track replacement is the key aim of the projected works, signalling maintenance will also be conducted at Yeovil Pen Mill signal box, platform resurfacing at Yetminster station and steelwork repairs at Damers Road bridge at Dorchester West station.

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.”

These works come as the latest project in a series of improvement works to the Heart of Wessex line, connecting Weymouth with Bristol Temple Meads on the Great Western Railway network. Further works are due to be conducted early into 2023, supplanting old track in the Thornford area.

During these works, trains will continue running as normal between Weymouth to Dorchester South and beyond.

Want to know more about the opportunities to become a key supplier to the UK rail industry? Attend TransCityRail and access an exclusive marketplace of buyers from Network Rail, HS2, Train Operators, Major Contractors, and all other tiers of the supply chain. For more information and to secure your place click here




The Great Electrification Of Scotland's Railways

The anticipated August/September edition of RTM is now up and running, loaded with insights and analysis of upcoming rail projects, innovations and the ambitions across the UK sector. We invite you to dive in to hear from the likes of Toufic Machnouk, Director, Industry Partnership for Digital Railway at Network Rail and Jenny Gilruth, Scotland’s Minister for Transport as she discusses the great electrification of Scotland’s railways. This just a tantalising taste of the great stories that we have to offer, so dig in and enjoy the informative fun. 


View all videos
TransCityRail Banner


South \ 29 09 22
North \ 10 11 22
Mids \ 10 02 23

TransCityRail is a series of regional, interactive and insightful events across the country bringing together leaders, collaborators, problem solvers and innovators in a creative and invigorating way.

This series of events supports and informs the whole of the rail industry and connects suppliers with buyers, specifiers, leaders and decision-makers looking to procure a wide variety of innovative products and services for their region.


The Green Rail Revolution

Maria Machancoses, Director of Midlands Connect discusses the importance of HS2 to the Midlands and the UK, their collaborative work with the Department for Transport, and how we need to embrace the railways again.

More articles...

View all