- West Country (W)
The railway line between Exeter and Taunton, which had been affected by flooding at Cowley Bridge Junction, is due to re-open at midday tomorrow. That's 18 hours earlier than expected.
We have learned some lessons from the flooding in November and done some things differently.
There’s nothing that we could do to prevent the River Exe bursting its banks and causing the track damage.
In November it took three or four days to fix the track but nearly three weeks to repair damage to the signalling equipment.
This time we used temporary dams to divert the flow of the water away from the lineside signalling equipment. This is the first time this technology has ever been used on the railway in Britain and it seems to have helped contain the damage well so far.
Network Rail also removed some equipment such as the point operating equipment at Cowley Bridge Junction and kept it dry ready to be put back once the water’s gone down.
Many staff worked over Christmas to help restore the railway as quickly as possible.
Hundreds of people had to be evacuated from homes in Barnstaple after the River Yeo burst its banks.
A woman spent 50 minutes clinging to a branch after being swept away from her flooded car at Umberleigh in North Devon.
Braunton's brand new flood defences were unable to withstand their first test of flooding.