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Ground engineers welcome plans to reopen old rail routes

The ground engineering industry could receive a major boost from plans announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) yesterday to reopen rail lines closed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Dawlish repairs

Reopening the rail line over Dartmoor via Oakhampton and Tavistock could bypass Dawlish on the Plymouth to Exeter rail route to add resilience to the network

The plans were unveiled as part of the DfT’s new Strategic Vision for Rail to support growing passenger numbers and invest in new infrastructure.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling also confirmed plans to bring back together the operation of the track and trains on UK railways and evolve the current franchise system.

However, it was news regarding reopening of routes that caused excitement within the geotechnical sector and a number of engineers said that they could see a new stream of work for the industry from the plan.

“The Strategic Vision for Rail could be a defining moment for the industry where the coming together of the train operator and Network Rail is turned into a practical and dynamic working reality, supporting sustainable growth and driving demand for geotechnical services across the UK,” said Central Alliance commercial director Jason Marbeck.

Grayling said that rail lines would be reopened if they unlock jobs, encourage house building, ease congestion and offer value for money.

Work on reopening the line between Oxford and Cambridge has already created large scale ground engineering projects.

The government said that reopening routes near Bristol, Birmingham, Exeter and the north east could also offer benefits. One of the routes that could be reopened would see trains travelling across Dartmoor via Oakhampton and Tavistock and bypass Dawlish to offer more resilience on the Exeter to Plymouth route.


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