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Network Rail submits Dawlish sea defence plans

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Network Rail has submitted plans for an improved sea wall in Dawlish, to protect the South West Rail line from rough seas.

Plans developed by Arup have been filed with Teignbridge District Council to “improve the long-term resilience of the railway linking Devon and Cornwall to the rest of the UK”.

The sea wall is designed to prevent stormy seas from damaging the rail line, as they did in 2014 when the line was washed away and was left suspended in mid-air. The resulting line closure is estimated to have cost the local economy up to £1.2bn

The plans come after the government spent £15M detailed marine and geological studies to develop long term resilience plans for the route.

Network Rail Western route managing director Mark Langman said: “The Department for Transport and Network Rail have been working tirelessly to determine what needs to be done in order to protect this vital transport artery for Devon and Cornwall.

“From blank page studies that looked at all options we’ve identified this as the most feasible rail route for Devon and Cornwall and there are areas that specifically need our attention.

“Improving the resilience of the sea wall at Dawlish is one of the most immediate and easiest areas we can begin work on and we’ve now submitted detailed plans to Teignbridge District Council.

He added: “In parallel we continue to work on possible solutions at Holcombe and Parsons Tunnel and will be sharing these with the community later this year.

“Maintaining this vital rail link for Devon and Cornwall remains a high priority for us, as I know it is for government.”

Work also started in November to repair the breakwaters which provide a vital coastal defence.

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