Campaigners have won their fight to keep two direct trains an hour to London from Dorchester and local villages on the line to Waterloo.

Changes proposed by new franchise holder South Western Railway included just one ‘fast’ train to London every hour, and a new stopping service to Portsmouth.

However, there was anger in the town at the prospect of losing one of its two hourly services – with Upwey and Moreton losing a direct service altogether.

A consultation by the train company drew more than 7,000 responses from local rail users, including Dorset councils, who said the 14-minute saving on the journey time was not worth the loss of the second London train.

South Western Railway has now revamped its proposed timetable changes from 9 December this year, with the new direct trains to Portsmouth now starting from Bournemouth, rather than Weymouth.

There will still be one ‘fast’ train an hour, which will be roughly 10 minutes quicker than the present Weymouth to Waterloo time.

There were several key areas of concern during the consultation, and a summary of the outcome of the consultation in these areas is now available online at www.southwesternrailway.com/timetableconsultation.

Andy Mellors, South Western Railway managing director, said: “I am grateful to everyone that participated in the consultation. We recognise that this major timetable change will have a significant impact on our customers and the communities we serve.

“We have listened to, and where possible acted upon, the feedback we have been given, and I believe now have an improved plan which will deliver a better railway.

“Of course it has not been possible to meet every aspiration, and to address the most common piece of feedback, to retain certain station stops in some of the proposed faster services, has meant some difficult trade-offs have had to be made between maintaining connectivity and faster journey times.”

Full timetables will be published later this year once Network Rail has completed a review to ensure the new train schedules fit in with other network operators.

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