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Looking at the damage, that's one HUGE job to put that right. looks like about 100yds of former mainline just hanging in mid air. I think there's a good chance that this historical railway landmark will never be the same again.

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As the pics come in it just looks worse and worse, that's the wall, path, trackbed, road behind and houses behind that starting to go....

 

FGW are still saying "disrupted until Friday" - I think that's extremely optimistic!

 ‎The Route Asset Management (Western) director Mr Gallop at Network Rail won't obviously give any timescale but has implied that this will take weeks to repair. That is of course is there is any let up in the storms.

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That undermining of the houses screams underlying geological weakness (or some extremely poor recent surveys)  -  and putting that right will make the Cambrian Coast problems in the shade.  Out until Autumn at the earliest I would say, and the cost will be horrendous.

 

Also, the bus replacement service arrangements are going to be HIGHLY AMUSING !

 

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‎The Route Asset Management (Western) director Mr Gallop at Network Rail won't obviously give any timescale but has implied that this will take weeks to repair. That is of course is there is any let up in the storms.

 

Also assuming it doesn't get any worse during the day; given that the washout has increased in size to now undermine the houses in a matter of a few hours, I wouldn't bet on that. I also feel very sorry for those home owners; you'd probably have felt quite secure looking at a sea wall, railway line and a road between you and the sea.

 

I wouldn't be surprised to once again hear people raise the issue of a more in-land route, but I also wouldn't expect them to get very far.

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 ‎The Route Asset Management (Western) director Mr Gallop at Network Rail won't obviously give any timescale but has implied that this will take weeks to repair. That is of course is there is any let up in the storms.

And the wind is forecast to shift southerly later in the week - which takes it towards the really damaging direction for the seawall area which is a south easterly.  Unless cofferdams can be quickly and securely put in place (which I doubt in current sea states) a lot more is likely to be damaged before the week is out.  THis might at least lead to a really good improvement for the future with a much more sturdy seawall but that is going to take a long time although temporary propping of the running lines might be feasible once the weather abates

 

16 - 27 February 1855 is reportedly the longest period for which the line has ever been closed by weather damage and the nature of construction and past repairs seems to indicate that if the base of the wall is scoured out by the sea then some sort of subsequent collapse is inevitable.  On the face of it a much deeper and more substantial toe for the sea wall would seem to be the answer to that but would obviously take a long time to install compared with earlier types of repair which were basically no more than filling the holes created by the sea.

 

Many people will no doubt now call for the 1937 'inland' scheme to be re-examined although I suspect that would probably now involve far more domestic (and business?) property acquisition and demolition than was the case back then but it would provide a good, and expensive, long term answer.  Whichever forward course is now adopted it really needs to be one which recognises the fact that the sea has been scouring out the first line of defence on numerous past occasions - be it rebuilding on the existing line of route or reviving the inland scheme.

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That undermining of the houses screams underlying geological weakness (or some extremely poor recent surveys)  -  and putting that right will make the Cambrian Coast problems in the shade.  Out until Autumn at the earliest I would say, and the cost will be horrendous.

 

Also, the bus replacement service arrangements are going to be HIGHLY AMUSING !

 

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Can't see it boading well for the little China Clay traffic though :(

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Difficult questions all round - I could see a new inland route being technically possible (and with some positives in terms of a potentially higher speed/shorter route, plus newer, easier to maintain construction)

 

But that would be set against massive cost, wailing and gnashing of teeth from folk opposing the building of something shiny and new through Devon's green fields, and questions of how to serve the intermediate locations on the sea wall route - (do you just shut the old line? Somebody needs to maintain the defences there anyhow as Dawlish and Teignmouth depend on them for their survival...)

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If the comments from the head of the Environment Agency are anything to go by, he would like to see no action as, in his terms, this is rural and he prefers to focus all assistance upon urban sites. It wouldn't surprise me if EU bureaucrats will have to be involved in the contract proposals - delaying things further. Get a large ship which is ready for breaking up in front of the sea wall PDQ and sink it to prevent too much more damage and give time to address the situation properly.

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According to the news and seeing the TV reports, Dawlish station is also damaged.

 

The line is going to be out of action for a long time. Hopefully this will now focus minds on dealing with the long term issue of re-routing the mainline inland.

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Trying to watch the coverage on BBC News 24 but getting distracted by the brain-deads standing behind the reporter at Dawlish watching themselves on their iPhones, periodically turning around to pull faces and wave at the camera... if you're there and have nothing better to do, go and see if you can help anyone that's had their home flooded. Better still, go and get a job...

Apologies. Rant over.

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