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Tue August 20 2019

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Land reclamation plan for south Devon rail line

11 Jun Network Rail is proposing to change the alignment of a section of coastal track in Devon to improve protection from land slips and cliff falls.

An enhanced sea wall will absorb the energy of the waves
An enhanced sea wall will absorb the energy of the waves

A 1.8km stretch of railway between Parsons Tunnel, near Holcombe, and Teignmouth was closed for six weeks following a landslide in 2014. It still needs to be better protected and long-term plans have now been published for public consultation. Proposals involve moving the railway away from the sections of cliff that pose the greatest hazard.

The design, produced with engineers from Arcadis, would require some land reclamation to allow a buttress to be built to stabilise the cliffs. To protect the realigned railway from the sea, a rock revetment or enhanced sea wall will also be required to absorb the energy of the waves and allow for the railway to be relocated away from the cliffs.

The proposals also include leisure access, cycling and walking routes and new amenity areas so that users of Holcombe beach continue to enjoy the space and views of the Devon coastline.

Views are being sought from residents, communities, businesses and rail users as part of a public consultation which runs for five weeks until 15th July 2019. The detailed proposals are available online at

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Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail’s Western route, said: “These proposals will protect the railway for generations to come, but we listened to public feedback to the original concepts in 2016 and have worked hard to minimise the impact on Holcombe beach and incorporate new and improved amenities such as cycling and foot paths.

"The railway is a vital artery to the southwest, which communities, businesses and visitors to the region depend on for connecting with the rest of the UK so we really want to hear views on our updated proposals to allow us to refine them further before we apply for consent to undertake the work.”

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