Upgrading the railway in the South West of England

We are now beginning to deliver more seats and improved reliability across the South West. New Intercity Express Trains, designed for Devon and Cornwall, plus electrification of the route through Newbury will bring more comfortable and greener journeys between the South West and London.

Following on from these improvements, Network Rail will be carrying out a series of upgrade works towards the end of 2018 and early 2019. Details of these can be found in the tables below.

What's happening

2018

Location
Dates
What is happening
Westbury
Sunday 23 December to Thursday 3 January Track replacement

2019

Location 
Dates
 What is happening
Exeter St Davids - Barnstaple Weekends of 5/6, 12/13 January and 2/3, 9/10 February
Track replacement
Newton Abbot - Plymouth Sunday 20, 27 January and 17 February
Track replacement
Truro - Penzance (including the St Ives branch) Weekend of 9/10 February
Track replacement
Taunton -
Exeter St Davids

and 
Totnes - Plymouth
Monday 18 February to Friday 8 March
Tunnel maintenance 

The detail



Improving the railway in the South West

The Great Western Main Line, passes through a number of tunnels, including Whiteball, near Tiverton Parkway, and Marley, near Totnes.

To ensure their continued use, Network Rail needs to carry out maintenance in February and March 2019.

  • Whiteball Tunnel will be closed from Monday 18 February to Friday 8 March
  • Marley Tunnel one of the two tunnels at Marley will be partially closed from Monday 18 February to Friday 8 March. Because each line has its own tunnel, we can continue to run a limited train service through the remaining tunnel

Trains between London and the South West will continue to run. However, there will be fewer services, and journey times will be extended by up to 60 minutes.

Replacement buses will run between Taunton, Tiverton Parkway and Exeter St Davids.

Important: Network Rail won’t update online journey planners until early January 2019.

Our travel advice

Plan ahead
Train times will be amended, with fewer trains running from some stations. Find out more at GWR.com/check.

Allow plenty of time
Some trains will be diverted, and your journey may involve a replacement bus, or a change of trains.

Travelling to or from Cornwall
There will be very few direct trains to/from London. A shuttle train will run between Plymouth and Penzance.

Devon and Somerset tunnels

How your journey may be affected

Find out how more at GWR.com/check.

Popular long-distance journeys:

Travelling between
and
Journey information
London, Reading, Westbury, Castle Cary
Stations in Devon (except Tiverton Parkway)
A direct service will run every two hours between London Paddington and Plymouth, using an alternative route

Journey times will be extended by 60 minutes

Stations in Cornwall There are limited direct services so a change at Plymouth will be required on most journeys

Journey times will be extended by 60 minutes

Taunton One direct train every two hours
Tiverton Parkway One train every two hours will run between London Paddington and Taunton

Buses replace trains between Taunton and Tiverton Parkway

Travelling between
and
Journey information
Taunton, Bristol, and the North
Stations in Devon
Trains from Bristol and the North will terminate at Taunton

Buses replace trains between Taunton, Tiverton Parkway and Exeter St Davids

A reduced service will run between Exeter St Davids and Plymouth

Stations in Cornwall Trains from Bristol and the North will terminate at Taunton. Change there for replacement buses to Exeter St Davids

A small number of evening trains will run from Exeter St Davids to Penzance. Otherwise, change at Plymouth

Important: Network Rail won’t update online journey planners until early January 2019.

Local journeys in Devon and Cornwall

Devon

Exeter St Davids to Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth
Hourly service, alternating between GWR and CrossCountry.

Exeter to Paignton
Local stopping trains will continue to run, but there will be changes to the normal timetable.

Exeter to Pinhoe, Honiton, Axminster
Train times will be amended. Check carefully before travelling.

Tiverton Parkway
Buses will replace all trains towards both Taunton and Exeter St Davids.

Totnes
A reduced service will run with all services departing from Platform 1.

Barnstaple branch
A normal service will run.

Exmouth branch
Some trains will run earlier than normal.

Gunnislake branch
A normal service will run.

Cornwall

Main line
An hourly shuttle train will run between Plymouth and Penzance. Departure times may be different to normal.

St Ives, Falmouth, Newquay, Looe and Gunnislake branch lines
A normal service will run.


Help with your journey

We use a mix of low-floor buses and non-accessible coaches to run our replacement services. If you are not able to travel on one of our services, we will arrange an accessible taxi for you free of charge.

It’s best to let us know in advance if you need help. To find out more, visit GWR.com/AssistedTravel.

Check your journey