A welcome return to more trains for Purbeck commuters

South Western Railway (SWR) is to once again run two direct trains per hour between Weymouth and London Waterloo via Wareham.

Following two years of a reduced service, which was caused by both covid restrictions and staff shortages due to the virus, a new improved timetable will be introduced on Sunday 15th May 2022.

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Wareham Railway Station

Journey times from Wareham Station to London Waterloo and Southampton have been longer with the reduced service

An improved service into London

Since the onset of the covid pandemic one train per hour has run on the route but SWR will now reintroduce a second train to strengthen service levels.

SWR says that as well as offering an improved service into London and a later evening return to Dorset, the upgrade also means journey times between stations will be reduced compared to SWR’s previous timetable.

It has been taking passengers an extra 20 minutes longer to get to London Waterloo from Wareham due to having to change at Bournemouth.

Connections with local buses should also be improved, with wait times significantly shorter because of a more frequent rail service.

Wareham Railway Station

“A real boost to frequency, journey times, connectivity and customer experience”

SWR’s performance and planning director, Steve Tyler said:

“Despite the challenges faced by the railway in the aftermath of the pandemic, we remain wholeheartedly committed to maximising the connectivity of our region and ensuring that all corners of the SWR network are provided with a reliable train service.

“The reintroduction of two direct trains per hour between Weymouth and Waterloo, combined with a whole host of improvements at Weymouth station, represents a real boost to frequency, journey times, connectivity and customer experience.”

Wareham Railway Station

A SWR train at Wareham Station on its way to Weymouth

A later train home from London, Southampton and Bournemouth

During off-peak times Weymouth, Dorchester South, Wareham and Hamworthy will be served by two trains per hour to and from Poole, Bournemouth, and key stations to London Waterloo. Upwey, Moreton, Wool and Holton Heath will have one train per hour.

In addition, the 21:35 service from London Waterloo to Bournemouth will now continue to Weymouth via Wareham, providing a later train to Dorset, not just from London but also from Southampton and Bournemouth.

Wareham Railway Station

Since the start of the covid pandemic there’s been a reduced train service from Wareham Station

“Stronger public transport routes are absolutely vital”

Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, councillor Ray Bryan, said:

“This is welcome news as we head into the busy tourist season, and thousands of visitors will have an easier journey to Weymouth.

“It will also benefit Dorset towns along the line including Wareham, providing a service for both tourists and commuters.

“Stronger public transport routes are absolutely vital to support the local economy and help promote sustainable travel, both of which are key priorities for Dorset Council.”

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