Residents, communities, businesses and rail users are being encouraged to have their say before a consultation period ends on Network Rail’s plans to protect a vital 1.8km section of railway in south Devon, which is bordered by steep cliffs and the sea.

Since 20 January Network Rail has sought views on a series of potential changes to a section of railway between Parsons Tunnel, near Holcombe, and Teignmouth with consultation to end this weekend on 1 March.

Network Rail has already hosted 11 public events with more than 2,800 people attending in total.

However, there is still time to have your say with the detailed proposals available online at www.networkrail.co.uk/SouthWestRRP where a feedback form can also be submitted.

The vital rail artery is the only line which connects Cornwall and Devon with the rest of the country and the plans would see the railway realigned away from hazardous steep cliffs.

The updated design means that most of the beach is retained as it only moves the railway away from the most potentially hazardous areas of the cliffs and keeps the existing railway alignment at both Parsons Tunnel and at Teignmouth end of this stretch of railway.

A realigned coastal footpath, which is 1m wider and safer than the current South West Coast Path, as it will have edge protection, will also be built with the new coastal path not extending any further out than the current extent of Sprey Point.

Further, a landward footpath will also be created with the new enhanced coastal path with more than 1km of new path with full coastal views will be added to the landward side of the railway between Holcombe and Sprey Point, where users can cross over the railway on a new, accessible footbridge.

Dave Lovell, programme manager for the South West Rail Resilience Programme, said: “We have had huge numbers of people attend our consultation events and with just a few days left, before the six-week period closes, we encourage anyone who hasn’t had their say to do so.

“The railway is a vital artery to the south west, which communities, businesses and visitors to the region depend on for connecting with the rest of the UK. Once this period of consultation closes, we will review the feedback before we apply for consent to undertake the work.”

For the proposal to go ahead Network Rail needs to make an application for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) to the Secretary of State for Transport in order to secure the necessary permissions and rights to carry out the works. 

The TWAO is likely to be submitted later this year once the proposals have been finalised following feedback from this round of public consultation.