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Flooding shuts west country railway line

Engineers were this week assessing the mainline railway between Exeter and Taunton in South West England after severe flooding forced its closure.

A junction at Cowley Bridge remained blocked as NCE went to press after flood waters washed away ballast along a 200m stretch of line. The junction is where the Barnstaple branch line joins the line between Exeter St David’s and Taunton.

The track was originally undermined by floodwaters on 21 November, and engineers hoped to reopen it last Saturday. But further severe flooding last weekenderoded the replacement ballast, said Network Rail Western Route managing director Patrick Hallgate.

“We had hoped to open the railway at Cowley Bridge for services today but further flood damage on Saturday and Sunday has washed out more of the ballastunder the track causing further significant damage,” he said.

A Network Rail spokesman said the line was likely to reopen on Wednesday.

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