RAIL users face disruption for five weekends, including the four day Easter break, as South West Trains undertake a £20m maintenance project across the Bournemouth area.
The extensive work, which began last night, will close the line between Southampton and Bournemouth every weekend until early May, adding up to an hour to journey times.
Jim Morgan, infrastructure director for the Network Rail/South West Trains Alliance, apologised for the “inevitable disruption”.
Mr Morgan urged passengers to check service changes.
“Please make sure that you check before you travel and alert friends, family and visitors who might want to use train services over these weekends that they will need to check for specific changes and leave extra time for their journeys,” he said.
South West Trains says the work is vital and will see over 30 sets of points replaced in the Bournemouth area.
Paul Clarke, chairman of the Bournemouth Accommodation and Hoteliers Association, said although the work was inconvenient, it would be beneficial to the town in the long run.
“There is never a good time for rail works to be carried out and this will undoubtedly affect not only accommodation providers’ potential guests but that of all visitors to the town.
“Now we have this information we will actively ensure, through our members, that all guests are informed in advance,” he said.
“It is important as a town that we all communicate a positive message rather than complain about substantial infrastructure works which long- term will reduce overall delays in the future.”
Lines will also be disrupted between Bournemouth and Weymouth at the beginning of April as engineers need four days of access to the line to complete work.
On Thursday, April 3 and Friday, April 4, lines between Poole and Dorchester South will be closed and replaced by a bus service.
These closures will then be extended from Bournemouth to Dorchester South on the Saturday and Sunday.
DISRUPTION 'A NUISANCE' SAY PASSENGERS
Roy Glover, 66, from Bournemouth, calling the maintenance work a ‘nuisance’, said: “Coming into the summer people are coming down to visit, especially with the warm weather.
“The trains are busy and it will be a nuisance.”
Mike Juszczak, 32, who manages an office in Brockenhurst aand who is not personally affected, said: “I have had to change the rota and adjust shift times to suit members of staff. It is difficult but my staff are lucky as I’m really flexible.”
Megan Bill and Faysal Shaikh, both 19 and students in Bournemouth, said the maintenance would disrupt their Easter holiday travels home. Megan said: “It will mess up my journey back to Bournemouth after the Easter. It will just take longer I guess.”