DORSET railway lines are to close - one route for more than two weeks - while major engineering work takes place, passengers are being warned.

Travellers are being warned of disruption and are urged to plan journeys well ahead as there will be times when sections of both the Weymouth to Bristol and Weymouth to London lines will be closed at the same time.

Network Rail is planning work in November on the ‘Heart of Wessex’ line, which connects Weymouth and Bristol.

Almost five miles of track will be replaced in the Maiden Newton, Chetnole and Yetminster areas, during a 16-day closure between Thursday, November 18 and Friday, December 3. Buses will replace Great Western Railway (GWR) services throughout.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Vital maintenance between Dorchester West and Castle Cary Picture: Network RailVital maintenance between Dorchester West and Castle Cary Picture: Network Rail

Meanwhile, there will also be closures on the Weymouth-Waterloo line.

The line from Weymouth to Wool will close on Monday, November 22, then the line from Weymouth to Dorchester South will close from Tuesday, November 23 to Friday, November 26. Buses will replace South Western Railway (SWR) services.

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “We’re making major improvements to the railway between Weymouth and Yeovil Pen Mill and Weymouth and Wool to provide our passengers with more reliable train services and better journeys.

“Sixteen days is a long time to close the railway, but it is the best way to ensure all of our work between Weymouth and Yeovil Pen Mill is completed while causing the least amount of disruption possible. Within those sixteen days we’re also closing the line from Weymouth to Dorchester South, for five days, when we’ll be carrying out important work to keep trains on time and reduce delays.

“We recommend that our passengers plan well ahead, as some replacement bus journeys may take significantly longer.”

The work on the Bristol line was actually due to take place at the end of May but was postponed as large numbers of passengers were expected to travel due to hot weather and the end of lockdown restrictions.

James Wilcox, GWR station manager for Westbury, Wiltshire and Dorset, said: “This temporary period of disruption is for essential rail improvement work to maintain our train services between Weymouth and Bristol Temple Meads.

“For GWR, it will protect the use of the route between Somerset and Dorset for the future and safeguard the line for customers travelling by rail in the region.

“We are grateful that Network Rail agreed to move the planned engineering work in Chetnole from earlier in the year to a quieter period, in order to help minimise any disruption to passengers.”

There will also be improvements at Weymouth and Upwey stations. Both will be cleaned, repainted and have litter and weeds removed, while platforms will have new paving installed.

During five days of maintenance on the line from Weymouth to Dorchester South and Wool, engineers will work on track, points and drainage to remove a speed restriction and keep trains on time between Weymouth and Upwey.

Engineers will also be working in Bincombe tunnel, while Tillon’s Lane bridge in Cattistock, near Maiden Newton, and Damer’s Road bridge in Dorchester, will undergo repairs.