Rail improvement works in Somerset this Easter

Train services between Westbury and Taunton will be amended over the Easter period to allow for track renewal and essential maintenance to be carried out.

Network Rail will be carrying out a variety of vital upgrades in Somerset, including track renewals at Witham Friary and Somerton Tunnel, signalling upgrades, and replacing a bridge over the River Tone at Athelney level crossing in Stoke St Gregory.

Direct, fast trains between London Paddington and the South West will use an alternative route between Reading and Taunton, extending journey times by around 40 minutes, from Friday 2 to Thursday 8 April.

Semi-fast, stopping services will terminate at Westbury from Good Friday (2 April) to Easter Monday (5 April), or Castle Cary from Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 April, and will run to an amended timetable.

Trains between Bristol Temple Meads and Weymouth will terminate at Westbury or Frome, where buses replace trains to Yeovil Pen Mill, from Friday 2 to Monday 5 April.

GWR Station Manager for Westbury James Wilcox said:

“We have been working hard to make sure that people can be confident to travel safely, and that includes running as many trains and carriages as we can to make extra room, as well as enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures.

“Network Rail do however need to continue their planned programme of improvement works and to take best advantage of this time when fewer people are travelling.

“For those who do need to travel we would encourage you to check their journey beforehand.”

With the Government’s present advice restricting travel, GWR is operating a reduced timetable. Customers should follow Government guidelines, people should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times. Find out more at gwr.com/safety.

Network Rail project manager, Ed John, said: “The work will be doing over the Easter period is really important and will help make the railway more reliable for passengers and freight services for years to come.

“We’d like to thank our neighbours and passengers for their patience while we carry out these essential upgrades.”

Customers whose journeys involve rail replacement services may prefer to travel either before or after the Easter weekend when train services will be running as normal.

Those who require step free access to change between trains and replacement buses should use Westbury instead of Frome or Castle Cary.

Westbury station is equipped with lifts to/from the platforms and an accessible taxi will be available to enable those customers to complete their journey.

The train operator has been providing rail services throughout the pandemic and has worked to ensure these are as safe as possible. This includes increased cleaning regimes and the use of a virucidal spray; extra staff at key stations to offer help and guidance; and processes in place to help customers maintain a safe distance where possible, such as restricting the number of reservations available.

For more information visit GWR.com/Wessex

Photo credit: GWR

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