Heart of Wessex line reopens after major overhaul

The railway between Dorchester West and Castle Cary was closed for five days for essential maintenance.

During a five-day closure of the railway between Dorchester West and Castle Cary, Network Rail and its contractors carried out vital maintenance on the Bristol to Weymouth line.

Between Monday 15 and Friday 19 February 2021, engineers completed a series of improvements to help improve the reliability of the railway including:

  • Rescaling of a railway cutting near Yeovil Pen Mill station to improve stability, also removing over 200 tonnes of debris;
  • Installing remote condition monitoring equipment and cameras to monitor the cutting’s stability;
  • Completing track refurbishments at Yeovil Pen Mill station, including the replacement of more than 170 sleepers;
  • Replacing 250 metres of lineside fencing;
  • Carrying out structural examinations and drainage surveys to monitor the condition of vital infrastructure.
Work being carried out on a railway cutting near Yeovil Pen Mill station.
Mark Killick, Network Rail.

On completion of the work, Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “We’d like to say thank you to our passengers for their patience during this line closure.

“The railway cutting rescaling is a vital piece of maintenance on this important line for local communities.

“The work we have carried out will keep passengers moving long into the future.”

Further maintenance will take place on the line between Dorchester West and Castle Cary later in the year, including track renewals and maintenance, at a date to be confirmed.

Jay Wilcox, GWR.

Jay Wilcox, Great Western Railway station manager for the area, added: “This work was important to ensure we can continue to provide services that people can rely on at this time and we thank customers for their patience.

“We have been working hard to make sure that people can be confident to travel safely, and that includes running as many trains and carriages as we can to make extra room, and replacement buses where trains cannot operate, as well as enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures.”

The work carried out in the Yeovil Pen Mill area forms part of Network Rail’s £2 billion investment on the Wessex route, which included a major project to replace a railway bridge at Yetminster in February 2020.

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