Network Rail has secured a budget of more than £2 billion to provide a safer and more reliable railway for passengers travelling on the south western rail network through Dorset.

The money will be spent between 2019 and 2024 across the route, which runs out of London’s Waterloo station, and represents more than a 20% increase on the existing five-year budget.

The funding will be focused on renewing and maintaining existing infrastructure to stop it failing, giving people more reliable train journeys in the future.

Becky Lumlock, route managing director for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said:

“We now have more money than ever before to invest in this route and make a real difference to people’s journeys – that’s great news for the people of Dorset.

 “With almost a quarter of billion passenger journeys a year, this part of the railway is under enormous pressure. The next five years are about making sure our tracks, our signals, our bridges and everything in-between, are in first-class condition and can support this growing demand.

“We know we still have much to do to improve train performance on our route and, working with South Western Railway, this funding will help us do that for the communities we serve.”

The Wessex route budget has been set out in the Office of Road and Rail’s (ORR) final determination. This confirms what Network Rail will spend to provide a safe, reliable and efficient railway.

Our work in Dorset and the surrounding area will see us replace ageing infrastructure and improving the resilience of our power supply. This will give passengers in the county a more reliable, safer train service by reducing the number of times our infrastructure fails, while avoiding speed restrictions being put in place.

Work in the region includes:

  • track renewals for two key junctions on the mainline west of Salisbury at Templecombe and Wilton;
  • reducing the risk of landslips during bad weather at Gillingham Tunnel, Crewekerne, Honiton Tunnel and Three Arch Bridge;
  • Repairing and strengthening a bridge near Dorchester; and
  • renewing the mainline power in the Bournemouth area.

ENDS