BAM Nuttall will start work at the end of May to build a new sea wall to protect the railway and the Devon town from extreme weather, waves and predicted rising sea levels.
The £30m scheme will raise the height of the wall from 5.0 metres to 7.5 metres and widen the walkway from 3.1 to 4.0 metres.
The railway, which connects Plymouth and Cornwall to the rest of England, was washed away by storm waves in 2014. Network Rail’s Orange Army got it back open again in just eight weeks by building a temporary sea wall from shipping containers.
The new wall, designed by Arup, will also create a new seaside promenade that retains the views of the coast.
The upgrade is expected to take nine months to complete, with work stopping during the peak summer season to minimise disruption on tourism in the area.
Network Rail senior programme manager David Lovell said: “We are delighted to have awarded the contract to BAM Nuttall and we look forward to working with them on delivering this vital upgrade that will protect the rail artery to the southwest for the next 100 years.
“Our plans have been drawn up by world leading engineers and it will provide greater protection to the railway and town from rising sea levels and extreme weather. Together with BAM Nuttall we will continue to update the community with how our work is progressing.”
BAM Nuttall rail director Huw Jones said: “We have a long association working at Dawlish, and successfully delivered emergency recovery of the railway during 2014. We’re proud to have been awarded this project to help secure this vital piece of the UK railway, for the community to rely on, over many years to come.
“We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with local stakeholders, Network Rail, and our supply chain partners. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to creating sustainable solutions that enhance the lives of passengers and everyone in communities where we work.”