Network Rail has said that work to erode over 20,000t of unstable ground has reached a critical stage in order to meet the planned line reopening date of 4 April.
Work on seawall repairs further down the line is progressing well but the route can only be reopened if the landslide has also been stabilised.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service moved onto site a week ago to help Network Rail and its contractor Amco with controlled erosion of the landslip to remove the unstable material.
“With our work at Dawlish nearing completion ahead of schedule, the Teignmouth site has become the orange army’s new frontline,” said Network Rail weatern route director Patrick Hallgate. “We have made good progress but the coming week will be critical if we are to meet our planned reopening date of 4 April. Everyone is working flat-out and are determined to clear this new obstacle to enable us to reopen this vital route.”
Recent consultations with Cornwall’s china clay business has seen a new high pressure water cannon brought onto site that is proving very effective at turning the red earth of the slip into slurry. Specialist army equipment and excavators may also be brought in to assist once more of the unsafe slip has been washed away.