Network Rail is to receive an additional £10m from the UK Government for protection works of the railway line from Exeter to Newton Abbot through Dawlish. 

The funding follows publication of a report by Network Rail setting out its proposals for strengthening the route, and will be used to carry out further planning to keep the track better protected from extreme weather.

During 2014, the route was damaged by extreme weather and a section of the sea wall was destroyed, leaving the tracks hanging.

A major landslip also occurred on the cliffs at Teignmouth while the line was closed.

Closure of this line is estimated have cost more than £1bn to the south-west economy.

"It is important that we make our railways strong enough to weather any storm."

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Never has the impact of nature been better demonstrated than at Dawlish and it is important that we make our railways strong enough to weather any storm.

“The further funding we have today announced will help to make sure that this vital link remains open.”

Network Rail identified three priority areas in its report where action was required to prevent the main Exeter to Plymouth railway line being blocked by further extreme weather.

Areas identified are those at risk of landslips from the steep cliffs between Teignmouth and Parson’s Tunnel, rock falls from the cliffs above Parson’s Tunnel north entrance, and the sea flooding the railway and road at Marine Parade.

The company will also use the funding to continue its development work on mitigation against these risks from 2017.

Network Rail Western route managing director Mark Langman said: “Keeping the South West connected to the rest of the country by rail is vital to the economy of the region.

“We very much welcome the additional £10m in funds announced today to help us build on the work we’ve already done to prevent this crucial line being blocked in the case of extreme weather.”