SWR to restore full West of England timetable on Friday 28 April

Thursday 27th April 2023
Train at Waterloo platform 
  • Diesel trains are performing as normal following a problem related to diesel fuel, which is under investigation
  • Enhanced maintenance on the small number of affected trains has allowed services in the Basingstoke, Exeter, Romsey, Salisbury and Yeovil areas to gradually resume
  • The full timetable in all these areas will be restored on Friday 28 April

We are reinstating the full West of England timetable on Friday 28 April.

An amended timetable was put in place on Friday 21, following a problem related to the diesel fuel used by the diesel trains that operate services in the Basingstoke, Exeter, Romsey, Salisbury and Yeovil areas.

The problem, which is still under investigation, caused fuel filters on a number of trains’ engines to become blocked, impacting their acceleration and top speed.

To restore services as soon as possible, engineers at SWR’s Salisbury train care depot have performed enhanced maintenance on all affected trains.

Fuel tanks at the depot, which provide 35,000 litres of fuel to the diesel fleet every day, have been deep cleaned and are also using fresh fuel. These steps have restored train performance, allowing services to gradually be restored.

On Tuesday 25, hourly services between Salisbury and Southampton Central via Romsey were reinstated, followed by direct services from Basingstoke to Exeter St Davids on Wednesday 26, removing the need for customers to change at Salisbury.

On Thursday 27, some direct services from London Waterloo to Exeter St Davids were restored ahead of the full timetable being reinstated on Friday 28.

Journey planners are up to date and customers can check their journeys at southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey.

Neil Drury, SWR’s Engineering Director, said: “We’re sorry for the disruption that customers in the Basingstoke, Exeter, Romsey, Salisbury and Yeovil areas have felt since last Friday. It was a difficult decision to amend our timetables and we have worked hard to restore services as quickly as we can.

“We have taken a number of steps to mitigate the problem, which we believe is related to the contamination of diesel fuel. Many of our trains have returned to the levels of performance that we expect and while there is still work to do, we are pleased to be able to restore the full timetable on Friday 28.

“Once again we’re very sorry for the disruption and grateful for the continued patience of our customers."

Chris Loder, Member of Parliament for West Dorset, said:

“It's been a tough week for train users locally and throughout the whole line. But I’ve been engaging closely with SWR to find a prompt solution and am pleased they have worked quickly to restore a full service in time for the bank holiday weekend.”