- Transport Minister marks completion of new sea wall to protect vital Dawlish railway line
- part of the government’s £165m program to make rail travel more reliable after the severe storms of 2014
- The Secretary of State also attended the official opening of the new railway station in Marsh Barton to promote local connectivity and develop the economy.
Passengers in the South West will benefit from more reliable trains thanks to a new £82 million government-funded sea wall protecting the vital coastal railway in Dawlish.
During his visit to Devon today (July 3, 2023), Transport Secretary Mark Harper will attend Dawlish station to mark the completion of the wall and the official opening of a brand new rail station at Marsh Barton, near Exeter – 2 projects that will promote locality and regional connectivity, helping economic growth.
As an important transportation lifeline for the Southwest, the projects demonstrate the government’s commitment to the region and continued investment in infrastructure to help develop the economy.
The new, rebuilt sea wall will protect the safety of local passengers from extreme weather conditions along the coast. It was completed in 2 phases, with the latter securing the Dawlish railway station being rated level 2.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said:
I am pleased to witness the completion of 2 major projects today, demonstrating the government’s commitment to improving the vital rail line for passengers in the Southwest.
These projects represent a government that is delivering on its promises, investing in critical infrastructure and improving transport connections to help grow the economy.
Dawlish jobs are part of £165m Southwest Recovery Program and fulfill the government’s pledge to create a more resilient railway line after devastating storms in 2014, which damaged the tracks unusable for eight weeks and left passengers disconnected from net.
The completion of the works marks a major milestone for the program and will provide a new promenade and public areas for the local community. Work underway by Network Rail also continues to develop a new pedestrian bridge, easily accessible with lifts at Dawlish Station.
The next cliff protection work, to carry out 2 additional phases of the program, continues at a pace that includes a fall rock shelter in Holcombe, along the coast from Dawlish.
Michelle Handforth, Regional Managing Director of Network Rail’s Wales and West Region, said:
I am delighted that we can join the Minister of Transport to mark the official opening of the sea wall in Dawlish.
Working with the world’s leading engineers and with government funding, we were able to protect the railway line and the town of Dawlish for generations to come.
I especially want to thank the Dawlish community for their patience and support while construction has been going on near their homes and businesses for over 2 and a half years.
At Marsh Barton, the Secretary of State will also attend the official opening of a new, fully accessible station, managed by Great Western Railway and serving the famous Exeter to Plymouth railway. Expected to open to welcome guests tomorrow (July 4, 2023).
Great Western Railroad CEO Mark Hopwood said:
New stations like these are crucial in bringing the rail line closer to everyone as we begin to care about the need to live and travel more sustainably. Marsh Barton will help ease congestion on some of Exeter’s busiest roads and provide a more eco-friendly option for those who often drive into the area.
Marsh Barton is 1 of 3 GWR stations will open this year alongside Portway ‘Park and Ride’ in Bristol and Reading Green Park, and we are delighted at the benefits these stations will bring to the local economy, to the people, businesses and leisure travelers in the areas they serve.
Powered and funded by Devon County Council, with contributions from the Southwest Local Business Partnership Center and Exeter and Teignbridge County Councils and over £3 million from the Department for Transport, the new terminal will better connect communities and provide greater access to employment, business and educational opportunities. Importantly, it will also provide an alternative, fast link to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospitals, allowing residents to access essential medical services more easily.
Councilmember Andrea Davis, a Cabinet Member of the Devon County Council on Climate Change, Environment and Transportation, said:
It is extremely gratifying to see the Marsh Barton railway station come to life. Despite a number of obstacles and challenges over the years, we have persevered and remain committed to this project to ensure more people in Devon have access to sustainable transport routes, helping to solve road congestion, improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.
This is the third station we have helped deliver in the county in the past eight years, following new stations at Newcourt and Cranbrook, as well as the opening of the Dartmoor Line between Exeter and Okehampton.
Marsh Barton Station is another major improvement to the rail network in Devon and we are honored that the Secretary of State was able to join us to mark the occasion. A big thank you to all the partners involved for their efforts in making this plan possible and we are sure it will be put to great use.