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Dawlish rail closure “cost economy £1.2bn”

The collapse of the railway line at Dawlish a year ago may have cost the economy up to £1.2bn, a report has claimed.

The stretch of track along the south Devon coast was out of use for two months as a result of storm damage which occurred exactly one year ago on 5 February 2014.

The Devon Maritime Forum said “all industries were hit” by the suspension of train services on the line, which is the only rail link to the rest of Britain for south Devon and Cornwall.

The forum, which promotes industries like fishing and tourism along the county’s coastline, said the economic impact could be up to £1.2bn.

Stephen Gilbert, the forum’s co-ordinator, said the “famous image of the hanging line at Dawlish” gave the impression Devon and the South West were closed for business.

Rail replacement services were put in place and the line reopened on 4 April 2014 at a cost of £35M.

In December, Network Rail won government backing to start looking into alternative routes for the line.

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