Work completed on £82m sea wall to protect vital coastal rail route

As part of the £165 million South West Resilience Programme, work has been completed on a sea wall protecting a vital coastal rail route in Dawlish.

Passengers in the South West will benefit from more reliable train journeys thanks to a new £82 million Government funded sea wall protecting the vital coastal rail route in Dawlish. The new, rebuilt sea wall will protect the safety of local passengers from extreme weather conditions along the coast. It has been completed in two phases, with the latter stage protecting the Grade 2 listed Dawlish train station.

“I am delighted to see the completion of two major projects, delivering a Government commitment to improve a vital rail route for passengers in the South West,” Mark Harper, Transport Secretary, said. “These projects demonstrate a Government that is delivering our promises, investing in vital infrastructure and improving transport connections to help grow the economy.”

The work in Dawlish forms part of the £165 million South West Resilience Programme and delivers on a Government pledge to create a more resilient railway following devastating storms in 2014, which damaged the tracks beyond use for eight weeks and disconnected passengers from the network.

The completion of the works marks a major milestone for the programme and will offer a promenade and new public areas for the local community. Ongoing work by Network Rail also continues to develop a new, accessible footbridge with lifts at Dawlish Station. Further cliff protection work, to deliver two additional phases of the programme, continues at pace including a rockfall shelter at Holcombe, along the coast from Dawlish.

 “I’m delighted that we could be joined by the Secretary of State for Transport to mark the official opening of the sea wall in Dawlish,” Michelle Handforth, Regional Managing Director of Network Rail’s Wales and Western region, said. “Working with world-leading engineers and with funding from the Government, we’ve been able to protect the railway line and town of Dawlish for generations to come.”

“New stations such as this are vital in bringing the railway closer to people as we become mindful of the need to live and travel more sustainably,” Mark Hopwood, Great Western Railway Managing Director, said. “Marsh Barton will help to ease congestion on some of Exeter’s busiest roads and offer a more environmentally friendly option for those who normally drive into the area. Marsh Barton is one of three GWR stations to open this year along with Portway Park & Ride in Bristol and Reading Green Park, and we are excited for the benefits these stations will bring to the local economy, to residents, businesses and leisure travellers in the areas they serve.”