Network Rail to consider re-routing coastal railway

A new Network Rail-led taskforce is to consider re-routing a coastal rail link between Devon and Cornwall after the route was devastated by winter storms.

The group, which will be made up of experts from the Department for Transport, the Environment Agency, train operators and local authorities, is to meet to consider the line’s long-term future, including proposals to re-route the main line or build a second line.

Paul Harwood, strategy and planning director for Network Rail, said: “The railway in the south west has been helping move people and products for more than 175 years. We are taking action today to safeguard the railway for the next 175 years and beyond.

“The catastrophic destruction of the Dawlish sea wall by the storm in February has made clear the need to re-think the long-term strategy around changing climate and extreme weather.

“A robust railway is integral to national resilience and we are committed to keep passengers moving, every day and in every situation.

“We need to review what viable alternatives exist – otherwise there will be severe implications for local and national economies, mobility and connectivity across the region and the wider UK.”

Network Rail has said a study considering the future of the line is due to be completed by early summer.