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 to strengthen embankments continues at Langport this week, with the piling work finishing on 7 May 2020. The team will be installing anchors over the next few weeks, as well as starting to demobilise from site.
Following the earlier discovery of badger habitats, our work in these areas has been delayed and we will return later in the summer to finish around 60m of piling. We will of course notify local residents ahead of our return.
Tunnel drainage and bridge works
During the two weeks of work, we installed new drainage between the tracks inside Somerton tunnel; improving resilience of the railway in adverse weather conditions and flooding.
A variety of work was carried out at numerous railway bridges across South Somerset, ranging from complete reconstruction (Southmead Farm) to bridge deck replacements, waterproofing, steel and masonry repairs, grit blasting and repainting.
While we were grit blasting East Lydford bridge and Kenton Lane bridge to prepare for repairs and repainting, multiple defects were found. This means that work is still ongoing at these two sites and we have had to extend the associated road works. These works are now due for completion on 25 May 2020.
Traffic will remain limited to a single lane on the A37 under East Lydford bridge until Saturday 2 May. Common Lane remains closed with the diversionary route still in place around Kenton Lane bridge, until Wednesday 6 May.
Follow up work
Work on the River Tone bridge had to be postponed due to high water levels following severe flooding. We will write to residents once a new programme has been agreed.
Painting is being completed on River Parrett bridge and we will finish on site on 12 June 2020.
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.