The storm-wrecked railway line at Dawlish in Devon will reopen as planned at the end of this week, Network Rail (NR) has confirmed.
The coast-hugging stretch of line was first severely damaged in this winter’s savage storms and damaged again in another violent storm on February 14.
With the line shut and round-the-clock work going on to bring it back into service, a massive landslip, involving the collapse of 20,000 tonnes of cliff-face near Teignmouth on March 4, had threatened the planned re-opening. But NR said today MON the reopening – on Friday – was going ahead.
NR chief executive Mark Carne said: “Dawlish has shown us at our best when we work in a planned, disciplined and innovative way.
“Our aim is to emulate that approach and embed it in our organisation so that we are continuously improving the service for our customers.”
This week marks the start of a new five-year spending and target-meeting period for the railways – known as a control period. This latest period, going up to April 2019, will see a £38 billion spending and investment programme, with passengers being promised more trains, more seats, reduced congestion and bigger, better stations.
NR will be aiming to provide infrastructure good enough for 92.5% of trains to run on time over the five-year period. If achieved this will be a better performance than was managed during the period 2009 to 2014. However, the industry did have to contend with a number of bouts of severe weather, with snow, storms and floods all affecting services during the period.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “A key part of this Government’s long-term economic plan is investing in world-class infrastructure. That is why we are putting record amounts of Government funding into our railways over the next five years.
“That investment will generate growth, create jobs and boost business while delivering faster journeys, greater comfort and better punctuality for passengers across the UK.”
Watch repairs to the train line between London and Plymouth at Dawlish, live below: