Network Rail builds first part of new Dawlish sea wall

The new sea wall runs for 360 metres along Marine Parade. Credit: Network Rail

The first section of the new sea wall in Dawlish has been built, after several construction delays caused by the coronavirus crisis.

This marks the completion of the first stage of work to protect the stretch of railway along the seafront that connects Devon and Cornwall the rest of the UK.

Network Rail has faced delays of crucial materials for the new sea wall throughout the pandemic, but teams of engineers worked around the clock in recent weeks, within Government guidelines, to enable the reopening of the beach and promenade in time for the peak tourism season.

Network Rail

The stretch of railway along the coastline is extremely susceptible to bad weather. In 2014 part of it washed into the sea during heavy storms, forcing an eight-week closure.

In 2019 the Government announced £80 million plans to protect the line with a new wall along Marine Parade, to provide greater resilience against adverse weather.

The rail line in Dawlish was battered during storms in 2014. Credit: ITV West Country

READ MORE ABOUT THE DAWLISH RAIL LINE:

The section now open to the public will be finished later this year, with Network Rail still needing to add lighting, fencing and seating. So far nearly £5 million has been spent by the company on local labour, materials and accommodation. A spokesperson said the next phase of work "would give a similar boost to the local economy".

Plans for the second section of the wall - a 415 metre stretch between Coastguards and Colonnade breakwaters - have now been submitted to Teignbridge District Council.

Work could start later this year if they are approved.