Network Rail celebrates improved accessibility at Dawlish station ahead of holiday season: Dawlish station accessibility 1

Friday 15 Mar 2024

Network Rail celebrates improved accessibility at Dawlish station ahead of holiday season

Region & Route:
| Wales & Western
| Wales & Western: Western

Network Rail joined forces with stakeholders, train operators and members of the community today to officially open the new footbridge with lifts at Dawlish station. 

The bridge was completed in late 2023 as part of the Dawlish sea wall project, making the station fully-accessible for the first time in its 178-year history. 

MP for Newton Abbot Anne Marie Morris cut a ribbon to mark the occasion, which was attended by representatives of GWR, CrossCountry Trains, Devon County Council, Teignbridge District Council, Dawlish Town Council and the Friends of Dawlish station. 

Also present were members of the Network Rail team behind the project, alongside representatives of contractor Bam Nuttall, who built the bridge. Made up of 42 pre-cast concrete units, the structure is protected from the elements on the seaward side by a 1m-thick shield wall. 

To make the station even more accessible, Network Rail has also improved the stepping distance between the platforms and trains, while reconstructing the seaward platform. 

Today’s event also gave attendees the opportunity to see progress on work by Network Rail’s contractor Sisk to bring a waiting room on the seaward platform back into use. It is expected to be open by Easter.  

Network Rail’s industry programme director Bogdan Lupu said:

“It was fantastic to be joined by our partners, stakeholders and members of the community today to celebrate the improved accessibility and facilities at Dawlish station. 

“The new footbridge benefits all passengers, especially those with limited mobility, carrying heavy luggage or with pushchairs. Together with the plans to reopen the waiting room, it is a real boost for the station ahead of the Easter holidays when Dawlish will see an influx of visitors by rail. 

“It marks another milestone for the vital route between Dawlish and Teignmouth, which since 2019 has seen £165m invested by the Department for Transport to help it withstand extreme weather and climate change as part of our South West Rail Resilience Programme.” 

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said:

“It’s great to see Dawlish’s new footbridge officially opened making the station fully accessible for the first time.   

“Delivered as part of our £165 million South West Rail Resilience Programme to protect this important stretch of railway from extreme weather, this demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to invest in infrastructure to futureproof the network and ensure rail is accessible for all.” 

Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot, said:

"Making Dawlish station fully accessible is just as important as ensuring that railway line is weather resilient. The new footbridge and lifts are incredibly important developments to ensure as many people can come and visit our amazing coastal line – perfectly timed for Easter!  

“Today is about giving back to the community in Dawlish who have been brilliantly patient, as Network Rail have sought to make the track and station resilient for the future." 

Andrea Davis, Devon County Council cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said:

“Today marks another step in the journey to not just make the railway resilient but to improve facilities. To have an accessible station was an aim before the terrible storms ten years ago.  

“Today, we now have a station which means more can take the train, which opens many opportunities for education, training and employment as well as leisure. 

“We continue to work with our rail partners to take forward the remaining phase of the programme to ensure a resilient railway for generations to come.” 

GWR station manager for Dawlish, Stephanie Chapman, said:

“We’re delighted to celebrate the new lifts coming into operation at Dawlish station allowing customers to benefit from a fully-accessible station for the first time.  

“Dawlish is a very important station for both residents and visitors from all over the UK and we are delighted to have been able to work with Devon county council, the Department for Transport and Network Rail to deliver these improvements.  

“We know that working together means we can deliver more and we are committed to a cooperative, collaborative approach with the communities we serve.” 

Dawlish resident Diana Frost, who campaigned for the footbridge, said:

"The addition of the footbridge with lifts is pivotal for passengers who, like me, have mobility issues. We now have access to both platforms, with no need to use the barrow crossing, making rail travel much easier for locals and visitors alike." 



Notes to Editors

Notes to editors 

Image credit: 

  • The accessible footbridge is made up of 42 pre-cast concrete units, with a total weight of 550 tonnes. 
  • The bridge deck was the heaviest piece at 71 tonnes and was lifted in by a 750-tonne crane. 
  • Each lift tower sits on eight piled foundations, drilled to a depth of 16 metres   
  • The old station footbridge without lifts remains open for those who wish to use it. 

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