1. ITV Report

New Devon railway delayed by decades

Storms damaged part of the line which has now been repaired Photo: ITV West Country

A commitment to build a new railway line is to be postponed by decades, leaving no immediate replacement to the storm-battered line at Dawlish.

In February 2014 the damage to the Great Western Railway by stormy seas brought attention to the lack of investment that the line had received compared to the rest of the UK.

The track was swept away with part of the sea wall in February 2015 Credit: ITV West Country

Prime Minister David Cameron paid a number of visits and declared ambitious rail plans must be made for the region. But two years later and apart from repairing the damage there has been little progress.

It was election year and Prime Minister David Cameron made promises of investment Credit: ITV West Country

Business woman Rebecca Garrett runs her media company in Plymouth and has to use the train twice a week to meet clients in London and would never dare ask them to visit her by rail.

For Rebecca and other rail users the problem is the track that needs to be straightened and signalling upgraded to improve journey times.

average speed from Plymouth to London
quicker to get to Penrith - almost in Scotland - than to Plymouth
to the regions economy if journey times to Plymouth improved by 26 minutes

It appears the only solution being considered by Government to improve journey times is to make the mainline more resilient with the three billion pound scheme to bypass Dawlish effectively shelved.

The South West MP's met with the Chancellor this week to talk specifically about the South West about specifically infrastructure to talk about what we wanted and what we needed to ensure that the economic potential of the region is realised.

– Anne-Marie Morris MP Con, Newton Abbot

But a report by the Peninsular Rail Task Force due out in the Summer will only commit to a Dawlish alternative line being considered by the year 2029 at the earliest - not even starting to have been built by that time.