Network Rail has said that world-leading engineers in coastal, tunnel, cliff and railway engineering have begun detailed studies along the route between Teignmouth and Dawlish in Devon, to safeguard the railway in Devon and Cornwall for future generations.
The survey work over the next six to eight weeks is the next phase in work that has been underway since 2014 when the rail line was closed for eight weeks following storm damage.
Key areas of concern that were identified in the Exeter to Newton Abbot Geo-Environment Resilience study, which was published in 2016, are the railway between Parsons Tunnel and Teignmouth where there was a landslip on the cliffs in 2014, the sea wall which collapsed at Dawlish in 2014 and the cliffs between Kennaway and Parsons Tunnels.
The detailed geotechnical and marine study now underway is aimed at improving Network Rail’s understanding of the cliffs and coastline in order to consider what measures could be put in place to maintain the railway.
Network Rail has said that it expects to outline options for for discussion with the local community, council and Department for Transport by early next year.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: We are investing in the biggest modernisation of our rail network since Victorian times, providing faster, more reliable and more frequent services for passengers.
“This includes making the lines from Dawlish to Teignmouth more resilient to the elements to avoid a repeat of the damage and disruption caused by the storms of 2014.
“On top of the £31M put into tackling the damage and disruption caused by the weather in 2014, we have invested a further £15M to enable world-class engineers to design a long-lasting solution for the line. We are determined to improve the service for passengers and safeguard the economy by protecting the movement of goods and services, irrespective of the weather.”