Severe flooding has again caused havoc on the transport network, with Wales experiencing its worst flooding for three decades and new disruption to rail services in the South West.
Following significant disruption in Wales caused by Storm Callum, Huwel Manley, operations manager at Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said the organisation would carry out ‘a large review about the flooding issues and flood protection’, with ‘a lot of towns and communities calling for new flood defences who at the moment don't have that’.
Aneurin Cox, flood risk manager at NRW said: ‘We have looked at the records and we are looking at records about 30 years ago when we had an event of this size and significance.’
Labour has criticised the Government for the slow pace of action to address the lack of resilience of the rail line between Exeter and Plymouth after a six-foot hole under the track near Teignmouth brought services to a halt.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: ‘Early on Sunday morning, a sinkhole was discovered under the railway line at Teignmouth, Devon. Flooding had created a two-metre-wide, six-foot-deep hole in the bedrock of the track.
‘Throughout yesterday, engineers worked to repair the damage and get trains moving again. The line reopened at 5.35am this morning with a temporary speed restriction in place.’
The track at Dawlish, just north of Teignmouth, was washed away in storms in 2014 and was again closed after it was damaged during Storm Emma in March. Luke Pollard, a local MP and Labour’s shadow flooding and water minister, wrote on Twitter: ‘We need ministers to announce urgent funding for Dawlish and announce funding for our railway upgrades in the Budget. No other region would accept our fragile and slow railway, and we won’t either. It’s time Govt pulled its head out of the sand and acted.’
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘Protecting the line at Dawlish is a national priority and we have made £15m available to Network Rail to develop a solution. Essential works will begin next month to strengthen the cliffs and protect the sea wall.
‘World-leading engineers have also been carrying out detailed ground investigation to understand what is happening to the cliffs and coastline in three key areas around Dawlish and Teignmouth. These surveys are nearly complete and Network Rail will report back soon on how they will protect the railway and coast line.’