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Winter Storm Rail Improvements

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2:34pm 15th July 2014
(Updated 2:34pm 15th July 2014)

A rail route to Cornwall that cuts out Dawlish could cost up to three billion pounds.

A report has revealed where the line could be routed to avoid another winter storm closure.

A 400 thousand pound upgrade or building five new direct routes are among the options.

One could go via Okehampton and Tavistock which would bring mainline trains closer to parts of north and east Cornwall.

Full ministerial statement from Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin:

'Earlier this year, I commissioned Network Rail to undertake a study to identify options for providing a resilient rail route west of Exeter.

Network Rail has now provided me with this study. The study considers the options below:

  • Option 1 Base Case
  • Option 2 Strengthening the existing railway
  • Option 3 Alternative Route A - the former London & South Western Railway route from Exeter to Plymouth via Okehampton
  • Option 4 Alternative Route B - constructing a modern double track railway on the alignment of the former Teign Valley branch line from Exeter to Newton Abbot
  • Option 5 Alternative Route C (C1 – C5) - five alternative direct routes would provide a new line between Exeter and Newton Abbot


Network Rail's West of Exeter route resilience study reflects the government's commitment to delivering world class transport infrastructure in the South West. It will be treated as a material input for Network Rail's long term planning process and will be incorporated in the Western Route Study, a draft of which will be published for consultation later in 2014.

It is imperative that this work leads to improvements to the resilience of the railways in the south west that ensure there is no repeat of the disruption we saw earlier this year. I expect to make a further statement in the autumn regarding the West of Exeter Route Resilience study and our next steps.'

Malcolm Bell from Visit Cornwall says good transport is vital for tourism: "I'd still like to see and make sure that we have good robust air, road and rail and that we don't end up with a situation where maybe rail's there but that's sort of stripped investment from somewhere else so that's my only caution. I'd love to see the best that we can afford balanced across all the transport systems."

2:34pm 15th July 2014

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