HomeRail NewsNew proposals to make the route to Cornwall more resilient

New proposals to make the route to Cornwall more resilient

The collapse of the railway at Dawlish during a severe storm in February 2014 hit the headlines as Cornwall was cut off from the rest of the UK by rail. Just eight weeks later, the railway was once again open and transport links to the far west were restored.

Less well publicised was the landslip at Teignmouth, just one mile west of the work still going on at Dawlish, that took place on 4 March 2014. 20,000 tonnes of cliff face slumped on to the railway at the foot of the cliff. High pressure hoses were used to wash the earth away into the sea as Network Rail needed to get the line clear so that the line could reopen once the Dawlish works were completed.

Since then, plans have been developed to find a long-term solution to the stability of the costal cliffs along just over a mile of railway (1.8km) between Parsons Tunnel, near Holcombe, and Teignmouth.

The latest design, released by Network Rail for public consultation, moves the railway away from the most potentially hazardous areas of the cliffs but keeps the existing railway alignment at both the Parsons Tunnel and at Teignmouth ends of this stretch of railway.

Not only does this retain the beach, a popular local amenity, but the facility will be further enhanced by work surrounding the railway. A realigned coastal footpath, one metre wider than the current South West Coast Path, and safer for walkers as it will have edge protection, will be built along with a new, accessible footbridge over the railway at Sprey Point. Holcombe beach will have a new fully accessible ramp as access.

Mike Gallop, Network Rail’s route director, said: “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.” 

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  1. NEW… not much of a change on existing…
    New forward and joined up thinking would be building a breakwater 1km away from current coastline.
    Shipping containers filled with stone or concrete so when stacked they do not move and they break the surge waves. By using Shipping Containers, the project cost is greatly reduced.
    Either firm ground or on Pylons 500m from the current railway location. The ‘New’ land from current coastline to the new Railway would create a New Tourist Recreational zone. The 500m from new Railway path to the breakwater infilled to make sandy shallow tidal pools.
    The Railway being 5 to 10m above the new gained land would be secure from tides and storm surges. Also by being 500m further out, the rock fall hazard would be removed.
    The new good Seafront tourist zones would invigorate the local economy. Fish and Chips, Icecream, restaurants, etc to waterfront leisure equipment retail units and one must not forget – there can be 10s of 1000s of those little beach huts sold for pretty pennies.
    The sale of the beach huts would be more than enough funding to pay for the entire project.
    Stop thinking of this as just a move the Railway. Think and work on it as a full proper tourist creation destination project.


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