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Plans for section two of new sea wall to protect the railway for passengers and the people of Dawlish

Our plans for the remainder of the new £80m sea wall for Dawlish – a 415m stretch between the Coastguards and Colonnade breakwaters – received approval in August 2020 and construction is now underway.

The new wall will cost £80million and be delivered in two sections. The first section, which runs for approximately 400m from Colonnade underpass, west of Dawlish station, to Boat Cove has now been built, ensuring that this section of railway is more resilient for future generations.

When both sections are built, the new, larger structure will protect the town and the railway for the next 100 years.

Dawlish sea wall and beach closure

While we carry out our work on section two of the Dawlish sea wall, part of the sea wall path and beach between Dawlish and Dawlish Warren will be closed. A diversion is currently in place between Rockstone Bridge and Dawlish Station.

The diversion takes you up Rockstone bridge and on to Exeter Road. Turn left once you get on to Exeter Road and stay on that road to get into Dawlish Town Centre. There is also a footpath opposite East Cliff Road which leads to Dawlish Station. Details of the diversion can also be found in the map below.

Map showing the diversion route around the Dawlish beach closure.

Our plans

Artist's impression of the wall from Dawlish beach
Artist's impression of wall from Dawlish beach
Cross section view of sea wall from Dawlish beach
Cross section view of sea wall from Dawlish beach

Based on scientific modelling and laboratory testing of various options by world experts, we propose to protect the railway and station by constructing the following measures to increase resilience to extreme weather and tides, and provide enhanced amenities for local people and passengers:

  • The construction of a new, taller sea wall between the two breakwaters.
  • A wider, taller, public walkway incorporated into the wall with views onto the beach.
  • Reconstruction of the timber Dawlish station seaward platform.
  • A new, accessible station footbridge with lifts.
  • New pedestrian ramped access to the beach from the promenade.
  • Improved passenger experience through better protection from the sea.

Download our FAQs PDF

Listen to our community phone-in

We held a public teleconference to answer questions from residents on Wednesday 3 June. You may listen to a recording below.

Environmental implications

Detailed environmental and habitat studies have been undertaken and these concluded that the works will have a limited impact on the marine environment around Dawlish.

Any potential to cause harm during construction will be closely monitored and managed through the Marine Licence process.

Marine Management Organisation – Environmental Impact Assessment Screening

What are the benefits?

The project will:

  • Continue to boost the local economy in Dawlish and Teignbridge. By the time the first section of the new sea wall is completed, Network Rail and its main contractor, BAM Nuttall, expect to have spent nearly £5m on local labour, materials and accommodation.  We expect to spend a similar amount locally during construction of the second section.
  • Help to protect the railway from the sea, leading to fewer line closures and a quicker recovery after large storm events to enable a normal service to resume.
  • Improve the experience for passengers getting on and off trains during high tides and stormy weather by reducing the overtopping and spray reaching the platform.
  • Help preserve the coastal path for future generations, as well as create opportunities to enhance the promenade, including more seating.
  • Protect the new, higher-level promenade from inundation by beach material, making the area more accessible for all.
  • Remove pigeon roosts, leading to a cleaner promenade and improved water quality.
  • Make travel easier for passengers with disabilities/pushchairs/heavy luggage by providing an accessible footbridge.
  • Improve safety by removing the barrow crossing currently used for escorting passengers with disabilities.
  • Potentially bring more of the station building into use and provide longevity and protection to the listed station building itself.

The planning process

The local planning authority, Teignbridge District Council, granted prior approval and Listed Building Consent for our proposals in August 2020.

The plans for ‘prior approval’ were submitted under our permitted development rights, enabling the council to formally consult the local community on the proposed designs. Listed Building Consent was sought as the works are physically attached to the Grade II listed Dawlish Station.

The letters of submission and all the supporting documents and drawings are available to download below.

In addition to the planning and heritage consents, an application for a Marine Licence has been submitted to the Marine Management Organisation.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the plans, you can send us an email at: SouthWestRRP@networkrail.co.uk

You can also visit our contact us page, call our 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or you can contact us on Twitter at @SouthWestRRP

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