Rail task force to get the South West back on track

More details have emerged of the taskforce to be set up to improve rail links to Devon and Cornwall following the destruction of the sea wall on the west of England main line at Dawlish in February.

The ‘West of England Route Resilience Study’ will be made up of representatives from Network Rail, the Department for Transport, the Environment Agency, train operating companies, local authorities, and other organisations. Its remit is to appraise three different scenarios and report back by 30 June:

  • Retain the coastal route between Exeter and Newton Abbot
  • Build an alternative route alongside, but retain existing line
  • Reroute the main line and abandon the existing coastal route

A fourth option of abandoning a rail route to Plymouth and beyond into Cornwall was described as ‘not a viable option’ by a spokesmen.

The study will not address the complementary issues of east of Exeter resilience, or journey time improvements, as these subjects are to be addressed elsewhere.

643/Mar 14

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