Work set to restart on new sea wall which will help protect vital rail artery to the south west for next 100 years

Network Rail is set to restart work on a new bigger sea wall at Dawlish, in Devon, on 9 September which will provide greater protection to the railway and town from rising sea levels and extreme weather for generations to come.

The upgrade, which stopped throughout the peak summer tourism season to minimise disruption on the local community, will now continue through to its completion in spring 2020.

The new sea wall is vital, not just for Dawlish but for the whole of the South West peninsula as the railway connects communities in 50 towns and cities in Devon and Cornwall with the rest of the UK.

Once complete the new sea wall will be 2.5m higher than the existing wall, have a curved edge to send waves back towards the sea and have a wider safer promenade with seating which will keep the clear views of the coast that the existing wall has.

The unique worksite means work will take place around the tides with engineers working for five hours either side of each low tide.

David Lovell, Network Rail senior programme manager for the Dawlish sea wall project, said: “We are looking forward to restarting work on delivering this vital upgrade that will protect the rail artery to the south west for the next 100 years.

“Our plans have been drawn up by world leading engineers and it will provide greater protection to the railway and town from rising sea levels and extreme weather.

“We will continue to update the community with how our work is progressing.”

Anne-Marie Morris, Member of Parliament for Newton Abbot said: “As Network Rail’s break from working on the line at Dawlish during peak summer months comes to a close, I welcome the fact that the work will resume on 9 September.

“This vital work will ensure that we have a train line that is robust and fit for the future and continues to act as a crucial transport and commercial artery through the constituency and wider South West.”