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Work to repair 'vital' Dawlish railway line to begin in days

Four years ago the Dawlish line was destroyed after a storm and closed for eight weeks. Credit: ITV West Country

Work to repair and protect a "vital railway artery in the South West" will begin in the next few days, Network Rail has announced.

The six-month programme will see short-term repairs carried out to protect the Dawlish line from the force of waves.

Network Rail claim they are committed to continuing the £15m development of longer-term options which they will present to the government next year.

A series of community events will be taking place in the coming weeks to explain to locals what the works will achieve, starting with Dawlish Methodist Church today (Tuesday 30 October).

Further events will be taking place in Teignmouth (7 November) and Holcombe (15 November).

Last year the Transport Secretary claimed that repairing the vital railway line was his Credit: ITV West Country

Engineers will carry out repairs to the breakwaters which protect the coast, sea wall and railway from the force of waves.

These will take place at Boat Cove, Coastguards Point, Colonnade Underpass and Langstone Rock.

Work will also be carried out from the top of the cliff above Parsons Tunnel at Holcombe.

Engineers want to investigate whether or not loose material can be removed to reduce the risk of land-slips, at least in the short-term.

Network Rail's six-month programme was announced on the day Chancellor Philip Hammond announced his 2018 Budget plan. Credit: ITV West Country

In 2014 a storm destroyed a section of the track at Dawlish, severing the link to the far South West and closing the line for eight weeks.

A massive landslide also blocked the railway with 20,000 tonnes of material.

Earlier this year the government was accused of "gambling with the region's economy" through years of under-investment in its most important railway line.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling claimed the line was his "number one priority", with experts warning that a sustainable long-term solution could cost billions.