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Dawlish sea wall illuminated

In 2014, Dawlish’s coastal railway line suffered severe damage following heavy winter storms. In response, Network Rail introduced several new measures to improve the long-term resilience of the railway connection – the only rail link from Devon and Cornwall to the rest of Britain.

A key feature of the improvement works was the construction of a new sea wall, which is 415m in length. Higher than the previous sea wall, it also incorporates a new high-level promenade at the same elevation as the station platforms. In addition, users of the promenade are now protected from the waves by a curved parapet wall that stands 1.1m tall.

The contractor for the project was Bam Nuttall, while the innovative plans were developed in partnership with the Bristol office of renowned engineering experts Arup.

To fulfil a crucial lighting element of the project, Arup appointed leading external lighting manufacturer DW Windsor. A 330m stretch of the elevated sea-front promenade required illumination to improve visibility for walkers.

The brief called for a discreet lighting solution, mounted at a low height to avoid any risk of glare for train drivers. DW Windsor’s Special Projects team developed a bespoke solution using a modified version of their surface-mounted linear lighting system, Garda Anti-Climb. In total, 110 custom LED lighting modules were installed along the walkway, set at an angle to wash across the pathway rather than illuminate the space above it.  

Ewen Morrison, Network Rail Senior Programme Manager for the Dawlish sea wall project, said: “It’s pleasing to see the remaining finishing touches to the first section of new sea wall were recently completed.

“The lighting will undoubtedly brighten up the promenade and enable people to safely use the sea wall in the evening, particularly during the darker winter nights.

“This new, bigger sea wall will play an important role in protecting not only the railway but the town of Dawlish from rising sea levels and extreme weather for generations to come.”

Image credit: Network Rail

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