Rail users in west Dorset are warned train times will change and part of a line will close for 16 days due to engineering works.

Network Rail has been working on the West of England (Exeter-Waterloo) line which passes through parts of east Devon and north Dorset.

Axminster and Crewkerne stations in particular are used by people in the Bridport, Lyme and Beaminster areas.

The first of a two-part closure saw the railway shut for five days until Saturday, November 11 between Yeovil Junction and Axminster to allow engineers to carry out improvements.

Work included stabilising the cutting at Crewkerne tunnel, replacing the barriers at Broom and Axe level crossing, painting Weycroft River Bridge with a protective, anti-corrosion paint, and removing wet beds (areas of waterlogged track stones that cause rough rides for trains) at Crewkerne level crossing.

The second phase is due to begin on Saturday, November 25 with a 16-day closure of the railway between Salisbury and Yeovil Junction.

South Western Railway said passengers should check before they travel, as train services will be revised and rail replacement buses will operate.

Around 1,280m of track between around Tisbury and Sherborne and 457m of track running through Gillingham station platform one will be replaced and then recycled. Engineers will also be clearing vegetation between Tisbury and Gillingham, completing level crossing maintenance at Wyley and Castleton level crossing and stabilising earthworks by Gillingham tunnel.

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “I’m really pleased to see work progressing to improve reliability of the West of England line.

"Over the past three years, we’ve worked really hard to improve the resilience of the line by strengthening the cuttings and renewing old worn-out sections of track.

"This closure will enable our engineers to continue these important upgrades as part of our continued programme of investment on this line. I fully recognise that every time we close the railway it is disruptive for our customers, and we always work hard to find the time when it inconveniences the least number of people.

"These upgrades are crucial for the safe and reliable running of services on the West of England line in the future and I’m grateful to customers for their patience and understanding during this time.”