|Heart of Wessex Line|
|Locale|| Wiltshire |
South West England
|Type||Suburban rail, Heavy rail|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
Heart of Wessex Line
The Heart of Wessex Line, also known as the Bristol to Weymouth Line, is a railway line that runs from Bristol Temple Meads to Westbury and Weymouth in England. It shares the Wessex Main Line as far as Westbury and then follows the course of the Reading to Taunton Line as far as Castle Cary.
The cities, towns and villages served by this route are listed below:
Passenger services on the route are operated by Great Western Railway and South Western Railway.
Most Great Western services originate from Bristol Temple Meads or Westbury. Some originate from towns and cities beyond Bristol such as Gloucester, Cheltenham and Great Malvern.
South Western Railway operate a limited service between London Waterloo and Yeovil Junction via Castle Cary. From summer 2016 there was also a "seaside special" service between Weymouth and Salisbury or Waterloo via Yeovil Junction, but this was withdrawn in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Services are typically operated with Class 165 and Class 166 "Networker Turbo" trains. These were introduced in the late 2010s after they were released from the Thames Valley during the modernisation of the Great Western Main Line.South Western Railway services are operated by Class 159s and sometimes Class 158.
Before the introduction of the Networker Turbo trains, the route was typically operated with Sprinter diesel multiple unit trains, typically of 2 or 3 coach Class 150, with some Class 158 trains.
Past rolling stock has included locomotive-hauled trains, including British Railways Mark 2 coaches hauled by Class 67 used to strengthen high-demand summer Saturday services in 2008–2010 between Bristol and the seaside resort of Weymouth.
A Bristol to Weymouth Rail Partnership was created in 1998 so that local authorities could support the line. In 2003 this was rebranded as the Heart of Wessex partnership and line.It is designated as a community rail line.
Yeovil Junction railway station is the busier, but less central, of two railway stations serving the town of Yeovil in England. The station is 2 miles (3.2 km) outside the town, in the village of Stoford. Although Yeovil is in Somerset, the station was in Dorset until 1991. It is 122 miles 48 chains (197.3 km) down the line from London Waterloo.
The Wessex Main Line is the railway line from Bristol Temple Meads to Southampton Central. Diverging from this route is the Heart of Wessex Line from Westbury to Weymouth. The Wessex Main Line intersects the Reading to Taunton Line at Westbury and the West of England Main Line at Salisbury.
Yeovil Pen Mill railway station is one of two stations serving the town of Yeovil, Somerset, England. The station is situated just under a mile to the east of the town centre. The station is located 59.5 miles (96 km) south of Bristol Temple Meads, on the Heart of Wessex Line. The station is managed by Great Western Railway, with trains being operated by them and by South Western Railway.
Salisbury railway station serves the city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England. It is 83 miles 43 chains (134.4 km) from London Waterloo on the West of England line to Exeter St Davids. This is crossed by the Wessex Main Line from Bristol Temple Meads to Southampton Central. The station is operated and served by South Western Railway (SWR), and is also served by Great Western Railway (GWR).
Weymouth railway station is the main railway station serving the town of Weymouth, Dorset, England. The station is the southern terminus of both the South West Main Line, 142 miles 64 chains (229.8 km) down the line from London Waterloo, and the Heart of Wessex Line from Bristol Temple Meads and Gloucester, 168 miles 63 chains (271.6 km) from London Paddington.
Dorchester West railway station is one of two railway stations serving the town of Dorchester in Dorset, England. The station is managed by Great Western Railway. The station is located on the Heart of Wessex Line between Castle Cary and Weymouth, 161.63 miles from the zero point at London Paddington, and is at the southern end of a single track section from Maiden Newton. The line becomes double at the station and remains so to just before nearby Dorchester Junction, where the line joins the South West Main Line from London Waterloo to Weymouth.
Westbury railway station serves the town of Westbury in Wiltshire, England. The station is managed by Great Western Railway.
Keynsham railway station is on the Great Western Main Line in South West England, serving the town of Keynsham, Somerset. It is 113 miles 63 chains (183.1 km) down the line from London Paddington and is situated between Oldfield Park and Bristol Temple Meads stations.
Thornford railway station serves the village of Thornford, in Dorset, England. It is approximately 3 miles to the south of Yeovil, and 144.35 miles from the zero point at London Paddington. It is managed by Great Western Railway and is served by trains on the Heart of Wessex Line between Bristol Temple Meads and Weymouth.
Frome railway station serves a largely rural area of the county of Somerset in England, and is situated in the town of Frome. The station is located on a 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long branch line which loops off the main line railway, which carries services on both the Reading to Taunton line and Bristol to Weymouth route. Most of the trains which take the loop line in order to serve Frome station are on the Bristol to Weymouth route, and most trains on the Reading to Taunton line by-pass the station on the main line. The station is 22.25 miles (36 km) south of Bath Spa on the Bristol to Weymouth line, it is owned by Network Rail and is operated by Great Western Railway.
The Wilts, Somerset and Weymouth Railway (WS&WR) was an early railway company in south-western England. It obtained Parliamentary powers in 1845 to build a railway from near Chippenham to Salisbury and Weymouth. It opened the first part of the network but found it impossible to raise further money and sold its line to the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1850.
The Langport and Castle Cary Railway is a railway line from Castle Cary railway station to Cogload Junction near Taunton, Somerset, England, which reduced the length of the journey from London to Penzance by 20+1⁄4 miles (32.6 km).
Great Western Railway accidents include several notable incidents that influenced rail safety in the United Kingdom.
The Reading–Taunton line is a major branch of the Great Western Main Line from which it diverges at Reading railway station. It runs to Cogload Junction where it joins the Bristol to Exeter and Penzance line.
Bathampton railway station is a former railway station in Bath, UK, serving the community of Bathampton. The station opened on 2 February 1857 and closed on 3 October 1966. Very little remains, as the station site was replaced with improved trackwork for a nearby junction. The only significant remains are the gateposts at the head of the approach road.
The Weymouth Wizard was a named summer service operated by Great Western Railway (GWR) via the Heart of Wessex Line between Bristol Temple Meads and Weymouth. The special service was named when GWR started running a single Saturday summer InterCity 125 service between Bristol Temple Meads and Weymouth.