The new sea wall project along the Dawlish coastline is having a tangible and positive impact on the town’s railway.
Network Rail’s sea wall project follows on from the storm of 2014 which severely damaged the railway on the South Devon coastline.
Construction on the new sea wall began in 2019 and has helped transform the Dawlish coastline.
The first section of the wall was completed in July 2020 and runs for 360 metres along Marine Parade south west of Dawlish station.
Following on from construction of the second section of the wall started in November 2020 and will stretch for 415 metres.
The second section will run from Coastguard breakwater east of Dawlish station to Colonnade breakwater.
Network Rail’s contractors BAM Nuttall have installed 143 concrete wall panels as construction progresses on the second section.
Curved wave returns have been placed on top of the panels and form the second section of the sea wall.
The innovative design of the wall combined with its increased height is having a positive impact on ensuring the tracks flood-free.
The construction of the sea wall is proving to be environmentally friendly too as low carbon concrete is being used as part of the concrete backfill.
This has helped to reduce the overall carbon impact of the construction project by two-thirds.
The £80m project is funded by the Department for Transport and will also see improvements to Dawlish station with a new footbridge with lifts set to be installed.
The Government are excited by the progress being made on the sea wall and recognise its importance in protecting the railways from extreme weather.
Rail Minister Wendy Morton said: “The progress being made on Dawlish’s sea wall is incredible.
“We are investing £80 million to rebuild this iconic station, as well as making it more accessible for all passengers.
“As extreme weather events become more common, we must do all we can to protect our transport network.
“Investing in our railways is essential to levelling up the country and ensuring local economies can flourish.”
Work has also begun to rebuild the seaward platform 1 and resurfacing the landward platform 2 at Dawlish station.
Network Rail commented on the work of those involved in helping renovate the station and protect the railway in South Devon.
Julie Gregory, Network Rail senior sponsor said: “It is brilliant to see the progress being made on the second section of sea wall in Dawlish.
“I’ve been mightily impressed with the transformation of this stretch of coastline.
“[This] is testament to the hard work and dedication of our team of engineers and contractors BAM Nuttall.
“This new, bigger sea wall will play a central role in protecting this… key railway route to the south-west from rising sea levels and extreme weather.”
Construction on the sea wall is expected to be completed in 2023 and will protect Dawlish and its railways against extreme weather for years to come.