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South West infrastructure bears brunt of flooding damage

Rail and road lines are blocked across the south west region as flooding over the weekend takes its toll.

The Environment Agency still has 38 flood warnings in place, with river levels in some locations the highest on record. The agency has sent warnings to around 70,000 properties at risk of flooding and flood defences have protected 24,632 properties across England and Wales, including in Exeter, Bewdley and Upton on Severn.

Network Rail said routes between Swindon and Bristol Parkway via Hullavington and between Cogload Junction and Castle Cary in Somerset are blocked, while the Liskeard to Looe service in Cornwall is likely to remain closed tomorrow.

“The Western route has borne the brunt of the extreme weather we have seen this week,” said Network Rail Western Route managing director Patrick Hallgate.

“There are still some closures and service alterations but we are working night and day to fix things. We will continue to work closely with train operators to get things back to normal as the terrible weather abates.”

Storms have caused problems all across the south west. In Cornwall fallen trees and flooding are holding up traffic around Cambrose, as well as in Liskeard and Mylor Bridge. In Devon flooding in Ivybridge and Rewe has slowed traffic, as well as a landslip in Exmouth. In Somerset flooding around Taunton, Yeovil and Athelney has affected the roads.

Western Route

  1. The Up and Down line remains blocked at Cowley Bridge, between Exeter St Davids and Taunton, including the Single line Barnstaple Branch following severe flooding.
  2. Falmouth Branch, Newquay Branch, Liskeard & Looe Branch, Paignton Branch & Gunnislake Branch were all affected by flooding over the weekend. The Liskeard & Looe Branch line requires structures examination to a bridge before the line can be reopened.
  3. The line at Wivelscombe Tunnel (Saltash) was closed due to a landslip, flooding and track failure.
  4. The route between Exeter & Plymouth is now open after landslip sites on the coastal route at Dawlish and Parsons Tunnel (Dawlish – Teignmouth) were inspected and authorised for line speed.
  5. The Newquay Branch has been inspected with no issues found.
  6. The Paignton Branch line is being route proved at present.
  7. The Up and Down Main line was blocked at Flax Bourton, between Taunton and Bristol Temple Meads. The Up line later reopened at linespeed. The Down line reopened with 8km/h speed restriction imposed.
  8. At Henbury (Bristol – Avonmouth Freight only line) the line was closed due to flooding.
  9. The lines were blocked between Castle Cary and Taunton at Athelney CCTV LC from 22.40pm on Saturday. The Down line is now opened with a 5mph speed restriction in place, although no services were running. The Up line remained blocked with floodwater 12 inches above rail height.
  10. Between Hereford – Malvern, the line was closed at Colwall Station for the third time this year after a report of a hole in the track. No trains between Great Malvern and Hereford.Staff being arranged to attend.
  11. There was flooding on the line between Evesham and Moreton in Marsh, but the signaller reported it was receding. An engineering train was trapped at Evesham en route towards Oxford.
  12. Flooding was reported at Newnham Tunnel (Gloucester-Lydney) and at Wickwar Tunnel and Charfield (Gloucester-Bristol). Staff were deployed to examine water levels at both locations.
  13. The Wootton Bassett Junction - Westerleigh Junction route remains blocked due to flooding at Chipping Sodbury.

Wessex Route

  1. The Wessex Route remains blocked between Yeovil Junction and Pinhoe until further notice following the severe flooding over the weekend. Revised train plan in operation.
  2. Flooding between Yeovil Pen Mill and Castle Cary.
  3. Honiton and Crewkerne have both been inspected and there is a minor additional slip above Honiton Tunnel but this will be covered by the proposed 8km/h speed restriction and watchman.
  4. Currently no train service is running west of Salisbury.

Thames Valley

  1. The lines at Hullavington and Heywood Road (Westbury) suffered multiple track circuit failures believed to be as a result of flooding.


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