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4 February 2019, 14:53 | Updated: 4 February 2019, 15:01
Plans to improve protection for the main railway line connecting Devon and Cornwall to the rest of the UK have been submitted to Teignbridge District Council.
Network Rail wants to build a new, higher sea wall at Dawlish to prevent stormy conditions from damaging the tracks and stopping a repeat of 2014, when part of the line was washed away.
Since then Network Rail has undertaken a series of detailed studies which established that maintaining the current railway route was the most feasible and cost effective solution.
The new sea wall will provide far more protection from waves and extreme weather and is future-proofed to protect the railway and the town, taking into account predicted rising sea levels. The local community will also benefit from a wider, safer promenade which retains the views of the coast – a feature that the area is famous for.
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s Western route managing director, 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.
“These plans are now subject to the views of the council, their residents and a final decision from government.
“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.”