NETWORK Rail engineers will be working on tracks near Salisbury station on December 18, meaning buses will replace South Western Railway and Great Western Railway trains between Salisbury, Romsey, Andover and Southampton until early afternoon.

The work will complete repairs to the track at the junction outside Fisherton Tunnel in the city which was damaged in an incident in October.

The track through the tunnel and across the junction had to be replaced after the incident and has “settled” over the following weeks as trains ran over it.

Network Rail’s route director for Wessex, Mark Killick, said: “I’m really sorry for this extra disruption so close to Christmas. When we replace track as part of our planned work, we make sure we come in a few weeks later to make sure the track is still aligned properly. In this instance, we’ve had to find a day when there’s little other work going on across the area, to keep disruption to a minimum for customers.

“Although I realise it’s not ideal, there will be a bus replacement service in the morning, with trains back in the afternoon, and I’d ask customers to check before they travel.”

Claire Mann, Managing Director of South Western Railway, said: “We’re sorry for the short-notice changes to services through Salisbury on the Saturday before Christmas, as Network Rail carry out essential engineering works.

“Replacement buses will be in place and our customers will be able to use tickets on Great Western Railway and CrossCountry services, via any reasonable route.”

Great Western Railway Managing Director, Mark Hopwood said: “We really appreciate customers’ patience as the final stages of repair work is completed. We’ve worked closely with Network Rail and other train operators to keep disruption to a minimum, but please do check your journey before you travel.”

There will be minor alterations to the last trains through Salisbury on Friday December 17.

Salisbury to Romsey via Southampton services will not run until early afternoon on December 18 but there will be replacement bus services between Salisbury and Romsey.

Rail replacement buses will run between Salisbury and Andover until early afternoon on December 18 with revised train services either side of the engineering work.

Great Western Railway Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour services will be replaced by buses between Salisbury and Southampton Central

From early afternoon on December 18 a revised service will run between London Waterloo, Salisbury and Exeter.

South Western Rail tickets will be accepted on Great Western Railway and CrossCountry services, via any reasonable route.

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