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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2014 Vol 4 No 1

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Rapid Response to Vital Rail Wash Out
- Page 2 of 4

Property left on the edge as seawater breaches the sea-defences, washes out the rail track and start to erode the banking.

Property left on the edge as seawater breaches the sea-defences, washes out the rail track and start to erode the banking.

A concrete spraying machine, that was previously used to refurbish Whiteball tunnel, began work a few days later to build up a layer of material over the subsoil exposed by the wall collapse. This is a temporary measure only so is a sacrificial layer, to absorb some of the impact of the next storm.

Work is ongoing to demolish the most damaged platform at Dawlish station itself, prior to rebuilding.

A full assessment of the repairs will be done as soon as there is a break in the weather.

This will enable a full engineering report which can be used to revise the timescale. Initial assessments are that it will take at least six weeks to complete from when work begins.

Contractors battled against ferocisous tdial surges

Horrendous conditions persist for operators as containers filled with rock spoil are placed to act as a temporary sea defence.

Network Rail has mobilised a range of specialist contractors, engineers and suppliers from across the country to help with the work needed at Dawlish and has also taken up the offer of discussions with the Ministry of Defence to see if there is any help which can be provided by armed forces personnel based in the south-west.

In addition, engineers are on site at a number of locations in the south west of England and are making repairs as and when the weather conditions permit.

page 3 of 4 >>>


Tuesday, 4 February

Weather forecasts predict a major storm off the coast of Devon and Cornwall.

Network Rail marine buoys predict ‘black’ storm conditions, with six-metre waves.

This is the first ‘black’ conditions predicted since the system was installed in 2007.


The line through Dawlish is closed to trains and staff withdrawn to safe locations.

Serious ovetopping by waves is reported through the evening.

9pm onwards

Damage reports received concerning both the railway and the adjoining land.


Inspections confirm extent of severe damage.

Wednesday, 5 February

Engineers on site at first light but unable to inspect the line due to continuing storm conditions. Teams of engineers, contractors and suppliers mobilised and head to Dawlish. Work begins on site compound to store machinery to shore up damage, including spray-concrete equipment.

Cutting out damaged section of rail at Dawlish

Railtrack left suspended

80 m of trackway left suspended as the foundations have been completely washed away. Repairs challenging as the storms continued to roll in one after another.

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