Train operator Great Western Railway is warning passengers of a series of upcoming engineering works which will affect journeys through the South West.
From Monday 18 February until Friday 8 March the route from Taunton to Exeter St Davids will be closed to rail traffic as Network Rail carries out maintenance work at Whiteball Tunnel; while further work at Marley Tunnel will mean that a reduced rail service will only be able to operate between Plymouth and Exeter St Davids.
Long distance services between the South West and London Paddington will be diverted around the work, adding up to 60 minutes to journey times, and replacement bus services will operate to intermediate stations.
For more detailed information please visit www.GWR.com/SWupgrade
Before the tunnel maintenance starts, track renewal work between Newton Abbot and Plymouth will close the railway on three Sundays: Sunday 20 and 27 January and on Sunday 17 February, and buses will replace trains.
Track renewal work is also to take place between Truro and Penzance, including the St Ives branch line, over the weekend of 9 and 10 February; and on the Barnstaple branch line on 2 and 3 February and on 9 and 10 February.
GWR Operations Director Rob Mullen said:
“We would like to thank passengers in advance for their patience, as Network Rail continues its Rail Upgrade Plan to maintain and modernise the railway in the South West.
“New Intercity Express Trains are already operating on the route, adding up to 24% more seats per train, with more new trains on the way. This work will ensure we can take advantage of the full benefit of these trains with a more resilient network.”
During the engineering works where trains are able to operate they may do so to a reduced and amended timetable and customers are advised to plan their journey in advance.
With more new Intercity Express Trains coming to the region older diesel stock is being replaced. Electric trains now operating in London and the Thames Valley also mean more modern diesel trains, and converted former High Speed Trains, serving local suburban routes in Devon and Cornwall adding better trains and more carriages where they are needed most.