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Network Rail gives ‘Heart of Wessex’ line some TLC

Updated: Feb 26, 2021

Vital maintenance between Dorchester West and Castle Cary

Passengers travelling on the line between Bristol and Weymouth can look forward to a more reliable railway following vital maintenance between Dorchester West and Castle Cary last week. Over a five-day line closure from Monday 15 to Friday 19 February, engineers completed a series of improvements to help maintain 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.

  • Track refurbishments at Yeovil Pen Mill station, including the replacement of more than 170 sleepers to provide stronger track and smoother journeys.

  • Replacement of 250m of lineside fencing to improve track safety.

  • Structural examinations and drainage surveys to monitor the condition of vital infrastructure.

Yeovil Pen Mill works

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.”

James Wilcox, Great Western Railway station manager for the area, said: “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 £2bn investment on the Wessex route to improve train journeys and keep passengers moving for decades to come.

More maintenance will take place on the line between Dorchester West and Castle Cary later this year, including track renewals and maintenance, at a date to be confirmed. It follows a major project to replace a railway bridge at Yetminster in February 2020, as part of ongoing improvements to the line.

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