Track and signalling


Services disrupted after Storm Emma damages Dawlish sea wall

There are no services running on the line between Exeter and Plymouth following major storm damage to the sea wall at Dawlish, Network Rail has confirmed.

While there is no structural damage to either the wall or the railway, visual inspections prompted engineers to cancel any services amid safety concerns.

Network Rail found that 10-15m of fencing and associated coping stones had been damaged, with some blowing onto the track and creating a dangerous situation for trains.

Along with damage to the sea wall, a substantial amount of ballast has been blown across around 150m of track, which engineers now have to remove and replace.

“Team Orange will be working round the clock to make the railway safe so that it can reopen,” Mark Langman, Network Rail Western route managing director, said.

“There will be no services on this line today and we will issue an update later today confirming when we expect to reopen this section of the railway. Currently reopening is anticipated to be within the next 24-36 hours.”

Dawlish station itself has also suffered minor damage, with wooden panels and handrails washed onto the track and a small section of the platform damaged. Network Rail is working to make the damage safe, clear up the station, and cordon unsafe areas off in advance of station reopening.

Storm Emma has caused transport havoc across the UK this week, with a number of operators warning passengers not to travel amid fears that services could be cancelled or stations unsafe to access.

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Huguenot   02/03/2018 at 20:52

Time to reopen the Southern route to Plymouth via Okehampton and Tavistock! This is the second time in recent years that Plymouth and Cornwall has been cut off from the rest of the rail network.

Andrew Gwilt   02/03/2018 at 23:42

And this is why a new route is needed. If the new railway line is planned to be built that will take trains away from the seawall. And a brand new railway station at Dawlish to be built. With the current railway line and station to be demolished. And a new sea defence wall to be built as well as a footpath for tourists to walk along the former railway line.

Noam BLEICHER   03/03/2018 at 10:06

I wouldn't want to see the current line closed, even once an inland route had been built for long-distance trains. There is enough leisure traffic in this part of the world, and local roads are very busy. You could have a thinner winter timetable, operated using only the inland of the two tracks.

Pwt   04/03/2018 at 13:18

Grayling has already made it clear that there is no money (and financial justification) for an alternative route away from the coast. The fact is that the ex LSWR route via Tavistock will never be reopened as a through route as it's in poor condition and has been built on in places. Also, don't forget that the good people of Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Totnes & Torbay still want a train service which the Tavistock route will not cater for! Better spend any money available in making the existing route more resilient and just live with the fact that it is where it is.

David   05/03/2018 at 15:13

Who says this line would ever be demolished Andrew, demolition costs money.

Andrew Gwilt   06/03/2018 at 02:27

True David.

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