Devon Sea Wall

Rail (UK) - - Contents -

Net­work Rail be­gins work this month on strength­en­ing four break­wa­ters to pro­tect the Devon Sea Wall from waves.

Work starts this month on four break­wa­ters to pro­tect the Devon Sea Wall sec­tion of the rail­way from waves.

The work is be­ing car­ried out by Net­work Rail and BAM Nut­tall, and will take six months to com­plete. NR says pro­tect­ing the route is a na­tional pri­or­ity, and that this is an im­me­di­ate short-term im­prove­ment to re­silience while it con­tin­ues with a £15 mil­lion de­tailed de­vel­op­ment of a longer-term so­lu­tion.

Four break­wa­ters at Boat Cove, Coast­guards Point, Colon­nade Un­der­pass and Lang­stone Rock have been iden­ti­fied as be­ing in poor con­di­tion and not pro­vid­ing suf­fi­cient pro­tec­tion to the route.

NR said that along­side this work, it will (with BAM Nut­tall and Ar­cadis) con­tinue in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether loose ma­te­rial from the top of the cliff above Par­sons Tun­nel at Hol­combe may be re­moved, to sta­bilise the cliff and there­fore re­duce the short-term risk of land­slips.

Mean­while, NR has es­tab­lished a South West Rail Re­silience Pro­gramme to iden­tify and im­ple­ment the best op­tions for the route. This is de­signed to avoid the prob­lems en­coun­tered in Feb­ru­ary 2014, when the line was shut for 50 week­days due to waves caus­ing the wall to col­lapse ( RAIL 742-746).

“This sec­tion of the rail­way is vi­tal for many res­i­dents and com­mu­ni­ties in Devon and Cornwall, and we are com­mit­ted to safe­guard­ing it for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” said NR Di­rec­tor of Route As­set Man­age­ment Mike Gal­lop.

“How­ever, it’s go­ing to take us time to work out the best ways to pro­tect the rail­way and then de­liver these works, so we wanted to find ways now to make the rail­way more re­silient than it cur­rently is.

“By re­pair­ing the break­wa­ters, we can give some im­me­di­ate pro­tec­tion to the sea wall, the rail­way and town be­hind it.

“And we are look­ing at how we can put in place im­me­di­ate, short-term mea­sures to re­duce the risk of a land­slip on the cliff at Hol­combe.”


On Oc­to­ber 13, as Storm Cal­lum bat­ters the UK, Great Western Rail­way 802004 passes stormy seas at Dawlish with the 0730 Lon­don Paddington-Truro. Net­work Rail has iden­ti­fied four ar­eas of the Sea Wall where break­wa­ters no longer of­fer ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion from the el­e­ments.

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