Devon Sea Wall
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.