Following visual inspections this morning we can confirm that the railway between Dawlish and Dawlish Warren sustained damage last night as a result of Storm Emma.
There is no structural damage to the sea wall, and the integrity of the railway itself has not been damaged, which is testimony to the quality of the strengthening works Network Rail delivered in 2014.
However, 10-15m of fencing and associated coping stones has been damaged, some of which is now lying on the railway. This needs to be made safe and Herras temporary fencing put in place. A substantial amount of ballast has been washed across the track along a 150m length of railway. Network Rail Engineers are now working to remove and replace the ballast.
Dawlish station itself has suffered minor damage, with wooden panels and handrails washed onto the track and a small section of the platform damaged. Network Rail is working to make the damage safe; clear up the station and cordon unsafe areas off in advance of station reopening.
Mark Langman, Network Rail Western route managing director, said: “Team Orange will be working round the clock to make the railway safe so that it can reopen. There will be no services on this line today and we will issue an update later today confirming when we expect to reopen this section of the railway. Currently reopening is anticipated to be within the next 24-36 hours.”