This weekend Network Rail will start work on nine railway upgrades in Somerset which will take place at the same time to reduce disruption for passengers.

From Saturday 14 March to Sunday 29 March Network Rail will be working 24/7 to repair and replace railway bridges, improve tunnel drainage and reinforce railway embankments – all between Taunton and Castle Cary in Somerset. The work will provide a more resilient and reliable railway for passengers.

The work means buses will replace trains between Castle Cary and Taunton and Network Rail are making the most of the closure to carry out nine projects on the closed section of the line.  

Those upgrades include the renewal of seven bridges as well as the installation of improved drainage in Somerton Tunnel.

By doing all nine projects at the same time it reduces disruption for passengers as it would take several months’ worth of closures if the upgrades were carried out separately.

The planned upgrades between Taunton and Castle Cary will also affect the following services between 14 and 29 March:

  • Train services between London Paddington and the South West will be diverted via an alternative route, extending journey times by 30 to 35 minutes
  • Trains between Reading, Newbury and Bedwyn will still run but to an amended timetable
  • Train services will also run between London Paddington and Castle Cary every two hours with connecting coaches between Castle Cary and Taunton

From Monday 30 March to Friday 3 April some trains services will be able to resume operating between Castle Cary and Taunton, but most long-distance services will continue to be diverted until Saturday 4 April.

Scott Pillinger, programme manager for Network Rail, said: “We have tried to carry out as many projects at the same time to reduce disruption for passengers.

“This work is vital in providing a safe, resilient and reliable railway and it is great we can do this in just two weeks compared to the several months' worth of time it would take if the upgrades were done separately.

“However, we do appreciate this will still cause disruption for some passengers and we thank them in advance for their patience.”

Adam Barber, Project Manager for Great Western Railway, said: “This project will deliver important improvements for the railway, which means more reliable services and a more resilient infrastructure.

“We appreciate customers patience while this essential work is being carried out.”

For further information visit networkrail.co.uk/somerset or GWR.com/Wessex or follow our Twitter feed: @NetworkRailWest #SouthSomsRailWork or @GWRHelp.