Network Rail has new plans for hazardous Devon line


Network Rail is consulting on new but currently unfunded plans to protect a 1.8km coastal stretch of track in South Devon, heading south west from the troubled Dawlish section.

The line is the only rail connection between South Devon and Cornwall and the rest of the country.

The scheme would see the railway realigned so it is taken away from hazardous cliffs between Parsons Tunnel, near Holcombe, and Teignmouth. 


This section of railway was closed for six weeks in 2014 following a landslide and Network Rail said it needs to be better protected from cliff falls, landslips and damage caused during extreme weather.

The rail infrastructure operator said the updated design means the majority of the beach is retained as it only moves the railway away from the most hazardous areas of the cliffs and keeps the existing railway alignment at both Parsons Tunnel and at Teignmouth end of this stretch of railway.

Mike Gallop, route director for Network Rail’s Western route, said: ‘We have listened to feedback from the first round of consultation and our updated plans will ensure a resilient railway line for the whole South West while maintaining most of the beach and adding improved walking and leisure facilities.

‘The railway is a vital artery to the South West, which communities, businesses and visitors to the region depend on for connecting with the rest of the UK. We welcome views on our updated proposals before we apply for consent to undertake the work.’

Network Rail said a realigned coastal footpath - one metre wider and s than the current South West Coast Path and with edge protection - will not extending further than the current extent of Sprey Point.

More than 1km of new path with full coastal views will be added to the landward side of the railway between Holcombe and Sprey Point, where users can cross over the railway on a new, accessible footbridge.

Network Rail will need to make an application for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) to the transport secretary in order to secure the necessary permissions and rights to carry out the works.

It said the TWAO is likely to be submitted later this year once feedback is received from the round of public consultation.

A spokesperson confirmed that the works are currently unfunded.

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