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West of England line improvements

We’re investing to improve journeys on the West of England line, between Axminster and Salisbury station.

Over the next year our teams will be working hard during multiple mid-week and weekday closures to boost reliability and performance along the line.

What work is taking place?

Over a series of closures our engineers will be:

  • Stabilising the earthworks around the track and tunnels to help prevent landslips and the disruptive emergency repairs to fix them.
  • Replacing track (the structures which trains run on) which means installing new rails, sleepers and ballast.
  • Managing the trees and plants that grow alongside the railway which involves removing hazardous trees to keep trains running on time.
  • Completing routine maintenance on other key bits of the railway including bridges, tunnels and level crossings.

When is the work taking place?

In November and December 2023, there will be a two-part line closure on the West of England line between Axminster and Salisbury.

The first closure is for 5-days from Monday 6 to Friday 10 November 2023, with buses replacing SWR trains from Yeovil Junction to Axminster station.

Our engineers will be stabilising earthworks at Crewkerne Tunnel by Crewkerne station. Taking advantage of the closure our teams will also:

  • Remove wet beds, waterlogged patches of ballast that cause rough rides for trains, through Crewkerne level crossing
  • Improving drainage along the track
  • Upgrade Axe Gates and Broom level crossings, between Axminster and Crewkerne stations
  • Complete routine maintenance of Weycroft River Bridge outside Axminster

The second closure is for 16-days from Saturday 25 November to Sunday 10 December 2023, with buses replacing SWR trains from Salisbury to Yeovil Junction.

During the closure our teams will be:

  • Replacing track from Tisbury to Sherborne
  • Clearing dangerous vegetation between Tisbury and Sherborne
  • Completing level crossing maintenance between Tisbury and Templecombe
  • Installing cabling between Tisbury and Sherborne

How will this work affect me?

During these closures rail services in the area will be retimed and diverted, please see South Western Railway’s website for more information. Replacement buses will be running throughout.

Whilst every effort will be made to contain the noisier activities to daytime working, the constraints of our schedules may mean that some noise at night is unavoidable. We apologise if our work causes you any disruption.

Why is the work needed?

We are investing significant amounts of money to improve journeys for our passengers along the West of England Line. Our work will boost the railways reliability and performance and reduce delays caused by infrastructure failings.

Past closures in the area have seen our engineers complete multiple major projects to keep the railway running reliably.

In 2022 we:

  • Renewed the railway running over Perretts Bridge (by Tisbury station), replacing 1226 yards of track, installing 4500 tonnes of new ballast and 1720 concrete sleepers.
  • A £5 million project to strengthen the cutting at Honiton tunnel which saw the installation of both a 35 and 15-yard King Post Wall, as well as improving the drainage from the many natural springs in the area.
  • Renewed track at Axminster station.
  • Refurbished Sherborne and Feniton level crossings. 
  • Installed new tactile paving at Gillingham and Sherbourne stations.

Get in touch

For more information or to get in touch with us, please visit our contact us page, follow us on X (formally known as Twitter) or by calling our 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

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