Latest News on the Blackmore Vale Line
The improvements will be introduced from 11 December and are in response to feedback and ideas from local passengers, stakeholders and communities to enhance the options available to passengers.
- New timetable due to be introduced from 11 December 2016
- New services to the Heart of Wessex line, including Frome and Castle Cary
- Includes a new Friday Night train from London to the Blackmore Vale
- To book tickets, please visit southwesttrains.co.uk
- South West Trains passengers in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire will shortly benefit from a new timetable, offering new and extended services.
The improvements include:
- An additional two trains per day between London Waterloo and Castle Cary, Bruton and Frome – bringing the total to three
- A new Friday Night train to Yeovil Junction departing London Waterloo at 11.40pm serving Tisbury, Gillingham, Templecombe and Sherborne
- A Sunday evening service from Frome, Westbury and Warminster to Clapham Junction and London Waterloo
- A new Saturday morning service for Weymouth, Dorchester and Wareham to London Waterloo
- A later last train on Saturdays evening – the 8.20pm Waterloo to Yeovil Junction is extended to Crewkerne and Axminster
- On weekdays the 6.15am Yeovil Junction to Exeter will start from Gillingham
- The 7.25am Exeter St Davids to London Waterloo will be extended to six carriages for its entire journey
These improvements to the timetable are the latest enhancements to services provided by South West Trains over the last 12 months, which has included Summer Special services to Dorchester and Weymouth, extra services for Glastonbury, extending a weekday morning service to link Gillingham with Exeter St David’s and free WiFi on all trains between Salisbury and Exeter.
Chris Loder, Head of Service Strategy for South West Trains, said: “This combination of new and extended services will provide a real boost for our passengers and communities in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire every week and is part of our efforts to continue to improve our services.
“They are the result of positive feedback from our passengers, as well as local stakeholders and communities and we are delighted we will be able to introduce them from this December.
“However, we are not complacent and know there are further improvements we can still make and we will continue to work with our partners and others to find further ways to develop and improve our services.”
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Rail Minister Celebrates Success at Community Rail Awards!
Friends of Gillingham Station hosted a successful POP-UP Birthday event at Gillingham Station to mark the 90th birthday of HM The Queen and also the 160th year of the founding of the Salisbury to Yeovil Railway Line. The Mayor of Gillingham opened the event which attracted hundreds of people. The programme of events included music from Gillingham Imperial Silver Band, a Mini pop-up Museum, model train display, steam road engine, plant stalls, games for all and complimentary refreshments and celebratory birthday cake.
Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP opened the Community Rail Awards in Southport on Thursday 29th September 2016 where Great Western Railway and their Community Rail Partnerships scooped the top prize as Overall Winners.
In his speech the Rail Minister said: “Across the country we have seen the positive benefits that an active Community Rail Partnership can deliver. Neglected, low usage lines and tired rural stations are being replaced with vibrant community centres, independent cafes, book clubs, safety programmes for children, fabulous station art, line guides, shelters, seating, tourist information and even a return to traditional heritage style livery and signs on some stations. I want to ensure that there is long term funding available for partnerships so they can plan effectively for the future which is why we are making sure that Community Rail is getting a record level of funding and the recognition it deserves in all future rail franchises.”
All category winners are listed below and full details of all winners and runners up projects/people can be seen in the Winners’ booklet
The night was hosted by General Manager of ACoRP, Neil Buxton, with the awards presentations being made by the Managing Director of Merseyrail, Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde and Managing Director of Northern, Alex Hynes. Neil Buxton said “We would like to congratulate all the winners, they are all very well deserved!” he added “We would also like to acknowledge all the runners up and shortlisted projects” More than 400 guests attended the gala dinner at the Floral Hall where they helped to raise £1724 during the entertaining charity fundraising parts of the evening, with a range of great prizes being donated by several attending organisations. Alzheimers Research UK and Cancer Research UK are to share the funds.
Templecombe station, on the London Waterloo-Exeter line, embodies what the can be achieved through a successful partnership between the railway and the local community.
There has been a determined attitude, combined with a creative desire, to improve the station. The village’s desire has been to hold onto history while at the same time recognising the involvement of Network Rail and the operator South West Trains. Closed in 1966, the station re-opened in 1983 after much pressure from the Templecombe Station Working Committee. Since then there has been a new waiting room opened as well as gardens and the installation of a second-hand footbridge.
Six years ago a new group of volunteers, the Friends of Templecombe Station (FoTS) was formed to take on the responsibility, mainly, of the gardens. But they also gave added value to the whole station and helped SWT to promote the line. The National Rail Awards Judges have dubbed the FoTS the station’s secret. FoTS members regularly attend the station, and have become an active voice for passengers with queries, complaints and compliments being passed onto the station manager or health and safety Officer.
Expansion came five years who when NR built a new platform for the Access for All programme once the signal box had been closed as part of the route modernisation programme. Following discussions regarding the footbridge, it was agreed that FoTS would support the railway by caring for the gardens, a redundant waiting room, shelter and the signal box too.
The volunteers raised money to buy timber and paint to renovate the buildings and it was agreed these could be repainted into historic Southern Railway colours of green and bamboo. SWT has since reimbursed the FoTS for the cost of the paint and plants to show the strength of the partnership. At the start of 2016, a major breakthrough involved the tri-partite agreement for the railway to supply a supervisor, some scaffolding and a cherrypicker, plus paint, to support FoTS plans to repaint the footbridge that become an eyesore, creating a poor visual impression of the station, railway and village.
Volunteers began work in February this year, and again agreement was reached for the former SR colours to be applied. Apart from the safety-critical part of the structure over the running lines, the bridge was repainted by volunteers, who then also painted the bollards and light columns in the car park. SWT’s staff member in the ticket office is also appreciated by passengers for her advice and support. She provides magazines for passengers, helps tend to plants donated by the station manager and is a goldmine of local and knowledge both for the area and the railway.
Local business has also got involved through publicity and sponsorship of printing station calendars that have proven a lucrative fund-raising source. Others have funded plants and manufacturing cushions for the waiting room. All this has created a modern station building built by NR that is supported by improved gardens and a renovated footbridge. Maintenance is shared by the FoTS and railway staff.
“The judges found Templecombe a delight to visit, with the best community garden display of all the stations visited.
“The station’s secret is a remarkably active Friends of Templecombe Station group which has gone beyond gardening to work with local staff to improve the overall station environment. They campaigned successfully to get the footbridge painted and have helped to preserve the listed signalbox and a waiting room for a display on the station’s history.”