Network Rail unveils plans to better protect vital rail line in south Devon

Posted: 21 January 2020 | | No comments yet

The line is currently the only one connecting Cornwall and Devon with the rest of the UK and needs to be better protected from cliff falls, land slips and damage caused by extreme weather.

Network Rail unveils plans to protect south west rail line

Credit: Network Rail

Network Rail has published updated proposals for changes to a section of railway line in south Devon that is bordered on either side by steep cliffs and the sea. 

The proposed plans would work to protect a 1.8km stretch of track between Parsons Tunnel, near Holcombe, and Teignmouth and realign the railway away from the hazardous cliffs.

Route Director for Network Rail’s Western route, Mike Gallop, said: “We have listened to feedback from the first round of consultation and our updated plans will ensure a resilient railway line for the whole south west while maintaining most of the beach and adding improved walking and leisure facilities. The railway is a vital artery to the South West, which communities, businesses and visitors to the region depend on for connecting with the rest of the UK. We welcome views on our updated proposals before we apply for consent to undertake the work.”

A second round of public consultation is currently underway, with views being sought from residents, communities, businesses and rail users across the south west. 

Network Rail’s updated designs for the line ensures that the majority of the beach is retained, as it will move the railway away from the potentially hazardous areas of the cliffs and keeps the existing railway alignment at both Parsons Tunnel and Teignmouth.

Additional features of the updated plans include a realigned coastal footpath – which is 1m wider and safer than the current South West Coast Path and will be built with edge protection – and a landward footpath, with more than 1km of new path to be added to the landward side of the railway between Holcombe and Sprey Point.