Latest Rail News

17.11.16

Network Rail secures £10m resilience fund after 2014 Dawlish damage

The government has confirmed today that an additional £10m of funding will be provided to Network Rail to help it strengthen the resilience of the railway line between Exeter and Newton Abbot.

The infrastructure owner has outlined proposals to improve the route after it was ravaged by extreme weather at the beginning of 2014, causing part of the railway line at Dawlish to collapse into the sea and thousands of tonnes of material from the Teignmouth cliffs to fall onto the line while it was closed.

The temporary closure of the iconic stretch of railway was estimated to have cost the economy in the south west of England over £1bn.

The extra funds will allow Network Rail to continue looking into how the track can be better protected from extreme weather beyond 2017, when the current round of research funding expires.

Network Rail’s managing director for the Western Route, Mark Langman, said: “Keeping the south west connected to the rest of the country by rail is vital to the economy of the region.

“We very much welcome the additional £10m in funds announced today to help us build on the work we've already done to prevent this crucial line being blocked in the case of extreme weather.”

Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, emphasised the importance of preparing the UK’s transport systems for extreme weather in light of what he called “the impact of nature” at Dawlish.

“It is vital that we do all we can to prepare our transport system for extreme weather,” Grayling said.

“Never has the impact of nature been better demonstrated than at Dawlish and it is important that we make our railways strong enough to weather any storm. The further funding we have today announced will help to make sure that this vital link remains open.”

Network Rail’s report for the resilience scheme identified three priority areas where action is needed to prevent the main railway line between Exeter and Plymouth being blocked or damaged by further extreme weather. These are:

  • The risk of landslip from the steep cliffs between Teignmouth and Parson’s Tunnel which would block the main line
  • Rock falls from the cliffs above the Parson’s Tunnel north entrance
  • Flooding from the sea of the railway and the road at Marine Parade between Dawlish station and Kennaway Tunnel

The research that the infrastructure owner has already undertaken into improving the line as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan will be presented to the public in a series of local engagement events across the south west over the next few weeks.

(Image c. FirstGroup)

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