We work 24/7 to keep the rail network running, with scheduled maintenance work and planned upgrades helping to meet growing demand from passengers.
This page provides information about work taking place on the railway in Somerset.
South Somerset railway work
From Saturday 14 – Sunday 29 March 2020, we successfully completed essential railway maintenance at 10 sites between Taunton and Castle Cary.
We brought forward schemes planned for the next few years, working 24/7 on multiple bridge renewals or replacements alongside drainage work in Somerton Tunnel, and embankment strengthening work at Langport. As a result, we have been able to reduce overall disruption to passengers and residents.
This essential work continued despite the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the reliability of the railway, with a particularly crucial role in keeping key workers and freight moving at this time.
There were up to 30 people working at each of our sites throughout the works. Government guidelines on COVID-19 were followed to ensure the safety of our staff and the public.
Work continues to strengthen embankments at Langport. Work closest to people’s homes has been completed and the focus has moved towards the River Parrett.
Our badger licence has now been granted by Natural England. We are now working with our contractor Suttles to get a new programme together to complete the embankment stabilisation work. We will update residents with revised plans for work in the area in the next few weeks.
Tunnel drainage and bridge works
During the two weeks, new drainage was installed between the tracks inside Somerton tunnel, improving resilience in adverse weather conditions and flooding.
A variety of work was carried out at numerous railway bridges in South Somerset, ranging from complete reconstruction (Southmead Farm) to bridge deck replacements, waterproofing, steel and masonry repairs, grit blasting and repainting.
Follow up work
Planned work on the River Tone bridge had to be postponed due to severe flooding and high-water levels underneath the bridge. We will write to residents with updates once revised plans are confirmed.
On the weekend of 4 and 5 April 2020, a tamping train will be in use on night shifts to pack the ballast (track stones) to improve performance.
Painting is being completed on River Parrett bridge and earthworks at Langport are continuing.
While the line between Taunton and Castle Cary has now been reopened, it is for use by essential passengers and freight only. Due to COVID-19, a reduced timetable is in place.
Cogload Junction renewal
In the autumn of 2019 we successfully replaced Cogload Junction near Taunton.
This was a huge undertaking as, due to the high speed of trains passing through the junction, it spans around 1km and incorporates some of the largest individual components in use on the whole of the route.
The work was completed between Saturday 9 and Thursday 14 November. At its peak we had up to 150 people out on the track at any one time, cutting out the old junction and installing the new sections with rail-mounted cranes and other equipment.
Despite some difficult weather conditions the work was completed on time.