Rail improvements to impact journeys in the South West

Wednesday 23rd October 2019

Plans to carry out track improvement, and maintenance work will see parts of the railway line in Devon and Somerset closed for two, separate periods.

From Saturday 26 October to Friday 8 November the line between Crediton and Barnstaple will be closed to allow Network Rail to carry out track improvements. Buses will run between the two stations with connecting trains continuing to run between Crediton and Exeter.

Mainline services in the South West will be unaffected during the Crediton to Barnstaple work.

On completion of this work Network Rail will then conduct major maintenance work to two key locations on the Great Western Main Line, Whiteball Tunnel (near Tiverton Parkway) and Cogload Junction (near Taunton) from Saturday 9 to Thursday 14 November 2019.

The route between Tiverton Parkway and Castle Cary/Weston-super-Mare will be closed throughout this period. Replacement coaches will be in operation on the following routes:

  • Tiverton Parkway – Taunton – Castle Cary
  • Tiverton Parkway – Bristol Parkway
  • Tiverton Parkway – Taunton – Bristol Temple Meads
  • Exeter St Davids – Tiverton Parkway (limited service) - Taunton – Weston-super-Mare
  • Taunton – Bridgwater – Highbridge & Burnham – Weston-super-Mare

During the Whiteball and Cogload works trains between London and the South West will continue to run, but there will be fewer services, and journey times will be extended by up to 60 minutes for some journeys. Services between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare; and between Penzance and Tiverton Parkway will continue to run.

Great Western Railway is preparing to speed up its timetable, offering faster journey times and more frequent services to key locations.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood thanked passengers in advance for their patience and reminded them of the changes ahead which these improvement works are helping to bring.

He said:

“We are now just a matter of weeks away from the biggest timetable change on the Great Western network since the 1970s, enabling us to take advantage of the full benefits that new Intercity Express Trains, and improved track signalling systems, are bringing.

“From December 15th, in providing more frequent and quicker journeys, our new timetable will for the vast majority of users quite literally mean ‘all change please’ and we encourage those travelling to check their usual journeys beforehand.”

Train services between Devon and Cornwall and London will be restructured to deliver a more consistent service pattern throughout the day, offering faster typical journey times and more frequent services to key locations from December this year. 

Network Rail‘s Western Route Director Mike Gallop said:

“The completion of this track maintenance work is an important step in the count down to the introduction of the new timetable in December, which will allow passengers to benefit from more frequent and faster journeys.

 “I would like to thank both passengers and residents in advance for their patience while we carry out this essential track improvement work.”

For further travel advice and information on the work please visit GWR.com/Taunton.


Notes to editors

Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.