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


What is happening
West Cornwall
Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October 2018 Signal installation

Par - Newquay (The Atlantic Coast Line)

Saturday 3 and
Sunday 4 November 2018
Track replacement 

Castle Cary/Yeovil Pen Mill - Weymouth

Sunday 28 October, Saturday 3 and
Sunday 4 November 2018
Track replacement 
Newton Abbot Paignton (The Riviera Line) Sunday 11 November 2018 (until 16:00) Track replacement 
Liskeard - Par
Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 November
Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 December 2018
Track replacement
Sunday 23 December to Thursday 3 January Track replacement


 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 and 27 January
Track replacement
Taunton -
Exeter St Davids

Totnes - Plymouth
16 February to 8 March 2019
Tunnel maintenance 

The detail

Safeguarding the route to the South West

The Great Western Main Line transports millions of people each year to and from the South West of England. Its route to Devon and Cornwall passes through two important tunnels: Whiteball (near Tiverton Parkway) and Marley (near Totnes).

To safeguard their use for the years ahead, Network Rail needs to undertake vital maintenance work in February/March 2019.

  • Whiteball Tunnel will be closed from Monday 18 February to Friday 8 March 2019
  • Marley Tunnel (London-bound direction) will be closed from Sunday 17 February to Friday 8 March 2019. The Plymouth-bound direction tunnel will remain open, allowing for a limited train service to run in both directions

Trains between London and the South West will continue to run during this work, but will be diverted along an alternative route. Journey times will be extended by up to 60 minutes.

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

We will provide more detail on this page nearer the time.

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

Travelling at Christmas?

Your journey may be affected by rail upgrade work.

Find out more at GWR.com/Christmas