Significant alterations to West of England line services from 17th December 2020

We would like to apologise for the fact that we are currently having to make significant temporary alterations to our West of England diesel services between Exeter / Bristol, Salisbury and Waterloo due to a high number of train crew either testing positive for COVID-19 or being required to self-isolate.

As a result all West of England line services will start or terminate at Basingstoke until 23rd December at the earliest with customers required to change services to / from Woking, Clapham Junction and Waterloo there instead. Online journey planners are in the process of being updated but do carry a warning about the changes. Capacity on remaining services between Basingstoke and Waterloo will be carefully monitored to maintain social distancing as far as possible. All SWR services between Salisbury and Bristol Temple Meads and Yeovil Junction via Westbury have been cancelled to concentrate train crew on the core Exeter – Basingstoke route. All services between Salisbury and Exeter will continue to be formed of the maximum 6 coaches to increase capacity as far as possible.

We are conscious that demand is expected to be higher around 23rd  and 24th December due to Christmas travel and will be reviewing expected availability of train crew over the next few days to consider options for those dates.

Ticket sharing arrangements are in place with GWR so that SWR customers are able to use Exeter to Paddington services and those between Salisbury and Westbury / Bristol Temple Meads as an alternative. You may be aware that GWR also has crew availability issues between Exeter and Paddington resulting in some services being cancelled over the next week or so. GWR customers are also able to use SWR services between Exeter and Basingstoke with the intention being to spread demand amongst available services and provide maximum flexibility across the day.

We hope you will appreciate the need to prioritise the safety of our customers and staff during these challenging circumstances.

Phillip Bell