Tuesday 18 Aug 2020
Vital rail link a step closer to being better protected as sea wall plans approved
Today, Teignbridge District Council approved Network Rail’s plans for the remaining section of the new sea wall at Dawlish, which will provide increased protection for the railway from extreme weather and rising sea levels for generations to come.
Network Rail hopes to begin construction work on the second section of wall, which runs for 415m between the Coastguards and Colonnade breakwaters, later this year. It follows the opening of the first section at Marine Parade in July and will complete the £80m Government-funded project.
The work will see a high-level wider and safer public promenade incorporated into a new sea wall, ramped pedestrian access to the beach, a footbridge to link the two parts of the sea wall and an accessible footbridge with lifts for Dawlish station.
The reconstruction of the timber seaward platform will also improve accessibility, making it easier for passengers to get on and off trains at the Grade II listed station, which is used by more than half a million people each year.
Construction is expected to take around two years and deliver a £10m boost to the local economy, on top of the £5m spent on local labour, materials and accommodation for Marine Parade.
Network Rail’s director for the Western Route Mike Gallop said:
“We know the local community in Dawlish feels strongly about the future of the sea wall and the resilience of the railway and we have listened to their views while developing our plans to protect the railway and the town from extreme weather.
"We are pleased that Teignbridge District Council has approved the remaining section of the new sea wall and thank members for their thorough reviews of our plans throughout the process to date.
“We are delighted with the positive feedback we’ve received from residents about Marine Parade and we know many are looking forward to the improved accessibility the work from Coastguards to Colonnade will bring.
"The new sea wall will protect this vital rail artery to the south west for the next 100 years. World leading engineers have designed these plans, having considered hundreds of other options, and it will ensure the railway line is more resilient for generations to come.”
Chair of the Peninsula Rail Task Force, Cllr Andrea Davis said:
“We are pleased that Network Rail’s plans for the second phase of the seawall project has been approved. This is great news for our residents and businesses across the peninsula and visitors to the region. Establishing a resilient main line is a vital aspect of the PRTF’s work and the Dawlish sea wall has always been a priority since the storm damage in 2014.
"This project will deliver greater resilience to the remaining sections of sea wall, ensuring that our network can withstand the weather and that people can travel across the peninsula reliably. We have already seen the benefits from the first phase of works, with a £5m uplift to our local economy, and the next phase of works will build upon the benefits released so far.”
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.