Railway Operations during the Olympics: Weymouth
As students of the Southern Electric system know well, the 1988 electrification of the line between Bournemouth and Weymouth was done on the cheap and the power capacity on this stretch of line is limited. In everyday service this causes few problems, but needing significantly to increase capacity to transport the large numbers expected for the Olympics posed a problem. A two pronged approach was devised. Although Class 450s with their 3+2 seating are not strangers to Weymouth, pairs of units (8 cars) were used to substitute for single 5 car Class 444s (with 2+2 seating) on what were expected to be the busiest services. This provided 180 extra seats per train. Additional shuttles between Bournemouth and Weymouth used Salisbury Depot based Class 159 and 158 diesel units in up to 5 car formations. Regular diesel unit services from "points west" were lengthened and additional diesel services from other destinations were introduced. Shades of multiple excursion trains from days past (for which Weymouth once had a large station and lengthy sidings)? However this intensive operation was even more remarkable because all three platform lines at Weymouth funnel down to a single track, before the line doubles at Weymouth Junction, so simultaneous arrivals and departures are not possible. Beyond Dorchester both routes out of Weymouth have significant single track sections. All this made scheduling and operating a more frequent exercise quite an undertaking.
|Extensive provision for queuing on the large Weymouth station forecourt was provided, but mostly not needed. Here on 10th august the "Olympic Family" shuttle bus leaves the station for Portland. This bus formerly operated in Reading branded for a Caversham service. It is now with Go South Coast and normally based at Farringdon, near Alton.|
|It is not the intention here to feature Class 444 worked services as that is the norm, but behind this illustration of Olympics signage on the platform 444011 awaits departure on the 11:20 to Waterloo on 10th August.|
|Arriva Cross Country 221136 arrives at Weymouth with the from 05:11 from Manchester Piccadilly.|
|nine minutes later 221136 was waiting in platform 1 to work the 11:35 to Bournemouth whilst 159105 stands in platform 2 having arrived on the 09:50 from Bournemouth.|
|158884 and 159102 approach Weymouth with the 10:50 from Bournemouth|
|The units from both the 09:50 and the 10:50 Bournemouth shuttles coupled to form the 11+55 empty stock back to Bournemouth Depot providing a very rare 10 car diesel unit formation, here on 10th August being 159105, 158885, 158884 and 159102. However, they returned separately to Weymouth for the evening passenger turns back to Bournemouth.|
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