by Tiana May
25 May 2023
Dawlish Sea Wall is set to open to the public at 2pm on Thursday 25 May following an 80 million GBP investment to help protect the key railway line, which connects the South West with the rest of the UK.
In 2014, damage caused by heavy storms resulted in an 8-week closure of the line, leading to extensive repair work that cost more than 35 million GBP.
Following this damage, the South West Rail Resilience Programme was established to identify and implement the best options to improve resiliency between Dawlish and Teignmouth, helping to avoid similar damage in the future.
In early 2019, the Department for Transport (DfT) committed 80 million GBP for a new sea wall from Dawlish’s Coastguards breakwater to Boat Cove.
Later that year, Network Rail started work on the first section of the new wall, covering 360 metres at Marine Parade. In 2020, work then began on the second section, stretching an additional 415 metres.
The entire project is now complete and stands 2.5 metres taller than the previous wall to protect the railway from extreme weather and rising sea levels for years to come.
“We are absolutely delighted to be opening this new section of sea wall and would like to wholeheartedly thank the community of Dawlish for their patience and support while the construction took place close to their homes and businesses over two-and-half years.
“The project 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 with the rest of the UK. The railway is now better protected and we hope the new wall, promenade and footbridge will be used and enjoyed by generations to come.”
The new section of wall wraps around Dawlish station, where work is also now underway to build an accessible footbridge with lifts for passengers.
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