South West connectivity boost as rail frequency set to increase

Two direct trains per hour will once again run between Weymouth and London Waterloo, following the introduction of South Western Railway’s (SWR) new timetable on Sunday 15 May.

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic one train per hour has run on the route to reflect the reduced number of people travelling by rail, but SWR will now reintroduce a second train to strengthen service levels.

As well as offering an improved service into London and a later evening return to Dorset, the upgrade also means journey times from many stations will be reduced compared to SWR’s previous timetable. Connections with local buses will also be enhanced, with wait times significantly shorter thanks to the new service.

The timetable uplift comes as a host of improvements at Weymouth station are currently underway. These enhancements include:

  • An upgrade of the station forecourt, which includes new bus stop facilities. This work is being delivered by Dorset Coastal Forum and part funded through SWR’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) with the remainder from Dorset Council.
  • The refurbishment of the canopy on platforms 2 and 3 which is being funded and delivered by Network Rail.
  • A new joint base for SWR’s local Rail Community Officers and the British Transport Police, improving joint working and making Weymouth station safer and more attractive to use.
  • The installation of a ‘Living Wall’ – a self-sufficient, vertical garden proven to combat air pollution, increase biodiversity and improve personal wellbeing.
  • The establishment of an AMT café, which donates 100% of its profits to supporting people experiencing homelessness.

SWR’s Performance and Planning Director, Steve Tyler said:

“Despite the challenges faced by the railway in the aftermath of the pandemic, we remain wholeheartedly committed to maximising the connectivity of our region and ensuring that all corners of the SWR network are provided with a reliable train service.

“The reintroduction of two direct trains per hour between Weymouth and Waterloo, combined with a whole host of improvements at Weymouth station, represents a real boost to frequency, journey times, connectivity and customer experience.”

Image credit: South Western Railway

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