Thursday 17 Nov 2016
Network Rail secures further funding for Exeter to Newton Abbot resilience upgrade plan
The government has confirmed this morning that an additional £10m in funding will be provided for Network Rail’s proposed resilience scheme to ensure long-term protection for the railway and the community between Exeter and Newton Abbot.
These funds will enable Network Rail to undertake further research into protecting the iconic stretch of railway beyond the current round of funding, which was due to end in 2017.
Exceptional weather at the beginning of 2014 caused part of the railway line at Dawlish to collapse into the sea and thousands of tonnes of material from the cliffs at Teignmouth to fall onto the line.
The overall impact of the disruption to the south west economy as the line was closed was estimated to be in excess of a billion pounds.
The announcement of this funding comes as Network Rail begins the process of presenting the findings of a series of detailed investigations and technical studies to the public.
The study, undertaken as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan to deliver a bigger, better railway for passengers, has identified ways of protecting the railway and improving the future reliability of the line.
Network Rail’s managing director for the Western Route, Mark Langman, said:
"Keeping the south west connected to the rest of the country by rail is vital to the economy of the region.
"We very much welcome the additional £10 million in funds announced today to help us build on the work we've already done to prevent this crucial line being blocked in the case of extreme weather."
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“It is vital that we do all we can to prepare our transport system for extreme weather.
“Never has the impact of nature been better demonstrated than at Dawlish and it is important that we make our railways strong enough to weather any storm. The further funding we have today announced will help to make sure that this vital link remains open.”
Network Rail is holding the first public engagement event for the proposed Exeter to Newton Abbot resilience scheme this evening (Thursday, 17 November) at the Langstone Cliff hotel in Dawlish Warren; open to the public from 4.30pm. Further engagement events will take place along the south west in the coming weeks (see notes to editors).
Notes to editors:
No costs have been calculated for individual parts of the project due to the early stage of development.
Network Rail will be holding a series of information sharing engagement events for the public as follows:
Langstone Cliff Hotel, Dawlish Warren, EX7 0NA
Thursday, 17 November – 4.30pm-7.00pm
Rougemont Hotel, Exeter EX4 3SP
Monday, 28 November – 3pm-7pm
Pavilions, Teignmouth TQ14 8BG
Tuesday, 29 November – 3pm-7pm
Best Western Livermead Cliff Hotel, Torquay TQ2 6RQ
Wednesday, 30 November – 3pm-7pm
Copthorne Hotel, Plymouth PL1 1AR
Monday, 5 December – 3pm-7pm
Alverton Manor Hotel, Truro TR1 1ZQ
Tuesday, 6 December – 3pm-7pm
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.