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April date for Dawlish reopening

The railway in Dawlish will reopen in mid-April, Network Rail has announced.

The schedule of repairs has been calculated after last weekend’s storm caused further extensive damage. The hole in the sea wall has got larger, and work depends on the weather.

Engineers have since laid concrete foundation into the main breach and the secondary breach at Dawlish Warren, and have started work on repairing the station platform and cleaning debris throughout the coastal route.

A temporary breakwater has also been installed to protect the railway and homes from further damage.

Patrick Hallgate, route managing director, Network Rail Western said: “We are all conscious of the importance of this railway to the south west, its economy and the people of Dawlish. They have been tremendous in supporting our team and understanding of the challenges we face. We are confident that we will have the railway back by mid-April and if we can we will beat that date.”

Mark Hopwood, managing director First Great Western, said: “This will allow us to restore through train services linking London and Exeter with Torbay, Plymouth and Cornwall. We appreciate Network Rail's efforts to work round the clock to get the line reopen so we can resume services for customers as soon as possible.

“Until the line reopens we are running train services between Exeter and London and between Newton Abbot and Penzance with bus services linking these to keep our passengers moving.

“We will be ready to run services once Network Rail completes the work and until then we will do everything we can to minimise disruption to our customers' journeys.”

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Ricp   21/02/2014 at 04:55

This situation amply demonstrates the sheer folly of closing the LSWR route via Okehampton and Tavistock. This situation also shows why the various suggestions for restoring the route should be worked up as quickly as possible. The few critics say "Oh, it is so much slower than the direct route; we need a Dawlish cut off". This would effectively make a railway that serves fewer centres than now. The route via the north side of Dartmoor opens access to two towns cut off since 1970, but also a decent local service, along with about 5 through workings from London could rejuvenate this route in its own right, but also provide that strategic diversionary route whereby a GW route train simply reverses at Exeter and runs on a much improved main line to Plymouth and then reverses off into Cornwall. With modern diesels virtually all trains are double ended multiple units, and even specials with coaching stock are often 'top-n-tailed' to maximise flexibility. This is the simplest solution, using largely an abandoned trackbed, but possibly requiring a diversion out of the town centre at Tavistock, if the demolition of about 10 - 12 houses and a few commercial structures were deemed unacceptable. Remember this was a POST Beeching closure, in 1968 and 1972 to Okehampton, and was clearly a political decision, now is the time to right a wrong.

Brian   21/02/2014 at 17:01

Perhaps better to reconsider the realigned route the GWR planned slightly inland of the present line. The only reason why it never was developed was because WW2 happened along.

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