Parsons Tunnel work site

Work set to begin to protect crucial rail link in South West

Network Rail are set to begin work on the installation of a new rockfall shelter on the line between Exeter St Davids and Teignmouth.

Overnight engineering work is set to take place every Monday to Thursday night from 24th January to 17th March.

The work forms part of Network Rail’s £37.4m resilience project to build a 209m rockfall shelter extension north of Devon’s Parsons Tunnel.

The South West Rail Resilience Programme will help protect the rail line in the south west and ensure services are reliable for future generations.

The rockfall shelter is designed to protect the railway line from falling rocks from the cliff face above.

This is something Network Rail has recognised as a growing risk to the railway.

Great Western Railway’s (GWR) sleeper service is set to be impacted for eight weeks as work takes place between Exeter St Davids and Teignmouth.

The Night Riviera Sleeper service between London Paddington and Penzance will not be able to run from Monday to Thursday evenings.

Mike Gallop, Network Rail Western route and strategic operations director spoke on the work set to take place.

Mr Gallop said: “The worksite at Parsons Tunnel is in a difficult location, surrounded by sheer cliffs, the sea and a tunnel.

“While it is disappointing to need to close the railway overnight for this period, the safety of those working on the project and our passengers is paramount.

“We have concluded the piling for this project is most safely achieved by using a rail-mounted piling machine.

“We have seen a shift in more passengers travelling on the weekends and for leisure.

“We are undertaking this work now ahead of the Easter break whilst ensuring weekend travel isn’t affected.

“I would like to thank passengers for their patience and understanding while we complete this important work.

“Once complete [the rockfall shelter] will help protect trains against falling rocks along this vital stretch of railway.”

Mark Hopwood, GWR Managing Director commented on the disruption the work will cause to the Night Riviera Sleeper service.

Mr Hopwood said: “Our Night Riviera Sleeper service is extremely popular and provides an important link between London and Devon and Cornwall.

“We are sorry for the disruption that this vital engineering work will cause

“The rockfall shelter extension is a key piece of work that in the long run will greatly improve the reliability of train services in the future.

“We look forward to this phase of the work being completed and restoring the world famous Night Riviera Sleeper service back to full operation.”


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