Midweek ‘Night Riviera’ is suspended for tunnel work
GREAT WESTERN Railway’s (GWR) Night Riviera sleeper services have been suspended every Monday to Thursday until mid-march while Network Rail constructs a 209m rockfall shelter extension north of Parson’s Tunnel, Devon.
The line between Exeter St Davids and Teignmouth has been closed overnight Monday-thursday from January 24 until March 17 inclusive. The temporary suspension only affects midweek services and the Night Riviera continues to run as usual on Friday and Sunday nights.
The rockfall shelter is an extension of Parson’s Tunnel, designed to protect the railway line from rocks falling from the cliff face above, which Network Rail identified as a growing risk.
The infrastructure company says that while there is temporary mitigation to this problem currently in place, the work being carried out will provide additional and permanent protection. It forms part of the South West Rail Resilience Programme, which aims to protect the vital rail artery to the south west, helping to ensure reliable train services in the future.
Engineers working on the project identified that the condition of the ground in the area is not suitable to carry out piling works from the side of the railway. Therefore, all piling must be done by a specialist piling rig from the track itself.
GWR’S managing director, Mark Hopwood, said: “Our Night Riviera is extremely popular and provides an important link between London and Devon and Cornwall, and we are sorry for the disruption that this vital engineering work will cause.
“The rockfall shelter extension is a key piece of work that in the long run will greatly improve the reliability of train services in the future.
“We always work with Network Rail to minimise the impact of its work on our customers.
“Traditionally, this might mean looking at reducing services at weekends to accommodate the extra work.
“However, with a reduced number of customers using this service at present due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this weekday overnight work will cause the least disruption.”
He added: “We look forward to this phase of the work being completed and restoring the world-famous Night Riviera sleeper service back to full operation.”
The first midweek sleeper following the end of this phase of the works is scheduled to operate on Monday March 21. For more information, visit: www.gwr.com/travelling-with-us/ night-riviera-sleeper