Wessex Main Line
|Wessex Main Line|
Crossing the river at Bradford-on-Avon
|Type||Suburban rail, Heavy rail|
South East England
South West England
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Wessex Main Line is the railway line from Bristol Temple Meads to Southampton. Diverging from this route is the Heart of Wessex Line from Westbury to Weymouth. The line intersects with the West of England Main Line at Salisbury, and with the Reading to Taunton Line at Westbury.
The places served are listed below.
- Oldfield Park
- Dilton Marsh
- Mottisfont & Dunbridge
Passenger services are currently operated by Great Western Railway local services, supplemented by South West Trains between Salisbury and Bristol Temple Meads, and Great Western high-speed express services between Bristol and Bath. Some services start at Swindon also. Many services continue beyond Southampton along the West Coastway Line to Portsmouth Harbour and Brighton, and beyond Bristol to Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport and Cardiff Central along the South Wales Main Line. Strong passenger growth meant that Wessex Trains increased train lengths from two carriages to three in 2004, but the new franchise specification reduced them back to two carriages, with inevitable chronic overcrowding and passenger protests. As of 2011, the service now regularly runs with three carriages, but significant overcrowding continues at peak times.
There is a link from Trowbridge to Chippenham, with an intermediate stop at Melksham. Despite showing strong passenger growth in the previous few years, the new franchise reduced services in December 2006 to 2 each way per day, at times barely convenient for commuters. This has particularly hit Trowbridge to London commuters, who now generally have to drive to Chippenham or Westbury for a connection to London if they wish to arrive at the capital relatively early. The service was increased again to 8 trains each way per day (6 northbound 5 southbound on Sundays) from December 2013
- Le Vay, Julian; Le Vay, Benedict (2014). Britain from the Rails: Including the nation's best-kept-secret railways. Bradt Travel Guide. pp. 145–147. ISBN 9781841629193.
- "Rail Travel". Destination Wessex. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
- Daniels, Gerald David; Dench, Leslie Alan (May 1973) . Passengers No More (2nd ed.). Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0438-2. OCLC 2554248. 1513 CEC 573.
- www.savethetrain.org.uk, Melksham-based campaign to maintain services on the Chippenham branch.
- www.twcrp.org.uk, TransWilts Community Rail Partnership