A new £82m government-funded sea wall will provide passengers in the UK’s southwest with more reliable train journeys and protection from extreme weather conditions following the Dawlish rail disaster in 2014.

According to Network Rail severe weather in 2014 destroyed the line near Dawlish and cut off the Southwest peninsular from the rest of the railway.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper visited the Dawlish station on 3 July 2023 to mark the completion of the wall and to announce the opening of a new rail station in Marsh Barton.

Harper said: “I am delighted to see the completion of two major projects today, delivering a government commitment to improve a vital rail route for passengers in the Southwest.

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By GlobalData

The Dawlish railway project is part of the £165m Southwest Resilience Programme and follows a pledge to create a more resilient railway after the 2014 rail disaster which damaged the track beyond use for eight weeks.

Dawlish sea wall
The completion of the sea wall project marks a significant milestone. Credit: Network Rail.

As previously reported by Railway Technology, the coastal line through Dawlish to Teignmouth is far from the only endangered stretch of rail in the UK.

The Department for Transport noted that the completion of the works represents a significant milestone for the initiative, providing the local community with a promenade and additional public places.

Michelle Handforth, regional managing director of Network Rail’s Wales and Western region, added: “I’m delighted that we could be joined by the Secretary of State for Transport to mark the official opening of the sea wall in Dawlish.

“Working with world-leading engineers and with funding from the government, we’ve been able to protect the railway line and town of Dawlish for generations to come.”