Rail passengers face New Year disruption

This is The West Country: Rail passengers face New Year disruption Rail passengers face New Year disruption

RAIL passengers face potential disruption to their journey in the New Year after Network Rail announced a closure of the line between Tiverton and Taunton - to allow repair work on Whiteball tunnel to take place.

The line will be closed from January 18 to February 10 and trains will be replaced by bus services between the two stations.

The closure could double the journey time for passengers travelling between Tiverton and Taunton, but First Great Western have said that every effort has been made to ensure minimum disruption.

A spokesman for First Great Western said: “This work will be carried out by Network Rail and is essential work on the Whiteball tunnel. We at First Great Western have worked to keep the disruption to our passengers to an absolute minimum, but we would advise passengers to check their journey information before travelling.”

Around three miles of track will be renewed and seven units of switches and crossings re-laid separately at Taunton and Tiverton to enable trains to travel at a higher speed of 80mph.

This effort will significantly help boost rail performance whilst complementing Network Rail's long-term aspiration to improve services between Bristol and Exeter.

Mike Gallop, Network Rail's director of asset management on the Western route, said: “We are carrying out essential improvement works on a vital rail link and on one of the more popular freight and commuter routes in the south west of England. The programme also forms a key building block to support our long-term vision to improve journey times between Bristol and Exeter.

“Unfortunately we have to close the railway temporarily to enable us to carry out this complex piece of work safely and efficiently within a confined space. To minimise disruptions, we have carefully designed our work by integrating three separate projects into one programme, which enable us to tackle the tunnel and the railway together without having to close the railway many times.”

Network Rail and First Great Western will also be providing additional car parking spaces at Taunton railway station to minimise any potential disruption to passengers.

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