As railway engineers and staff battle to stabilise flood-damaged infrastructure across the network Trish Johnson, regional director of the Institution of Civil Engineers South West, has called for greater investment in protecting Devon and Cornwall’s rail links.
Says Johnson, ‘In the winter of 2012/2013, we saw the railway line into the south west cut off by flooding at Cowley Bridge… We have seen catastrophic damage at Dawlish, resulting in Devon and Cornwall effectively being cut off from the rest of the country.
‘The railway route into the south west was constructed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 1840s when flooding of this severity was not a common occurrence. It is time to react to our changing climate and invest in our railway connections.’
Rail engineers are carrying out initial assessments of the damage at Dawlish. Pictures of the washed away railway grabbed headlines as Britain suffered one of the wettest winters on record.