Passengers are reminded the Heart of Wessex rail line will close for seven days this weekend from Saturday 15 to Friday 21 February, as Network Rail carries out improvement works to increase reliability and performance along the route.

Planned works include: the upgrade of a bridge between Yetminster and Thornford; tunnel lining work near Dorchester; as well as track renewals along the route, and essential maintenance.

Rail services will be amended between Weymouth, Dorchester West, Yeovil Pen Mill and Castle Cary.

During the closure, road transport will replace trains between Weymouth and Yeovil Pen Mill, extending journey times by more than an hour in some instances as a result.

South Western Railway’s Saturday services between Weymouth and Yeovil Junction will not run but trains via Bournemouth are unaffected.

Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “There is never a good time to close an important line for the area’s communities, and we are sorry for the inconvenience the closures will cause.

“This significant piece of work to the bridge will be much easier to maintain and together with a reinforced tunnel and new and refurbished track, there will be a much more reliable railway and better journeys for our passengers.”

Alastair Hutton, Project Manager for Great Western Railway, said: “The Heart of Wessex line is an important route for our customers travelling to or from Weymouth, so we appreciate them bearing with us whilst this essential work is being carried by Network Rail.”

For further information, please visit GWR.com/Wessex.