UK & World News
Dawlish Rail Link To Reopen Early After Storms
A key railway line that collapsed during winter storms is to reopen two weeks ahead of schedule.
The line at Dawlish, in Devon, which links the south-west of England to the rest of Britain, was put out of commission when a sea wall was breached by the storms on February 4.
It was expected to remain closed until mid-April but will now reopen on April 4 in time for the Easter holidays.
Network Rail (NR), who suffered a setback when further storm damage was inflicted on Valentine's Day, said 300 engineers had been working around the clock.
The 100-yard breach has been repaired with nearly 5,000 tons of concrete and 150 tons of steel.
A new 200-yard ready-built track is now ready for installation.
NR's western route managing director Patrick Hallgate said: "We are determined to complete this work in time for the school holidays to support the vital tourism trade in Dawlish, South Devon and across the south-west of England.
"An unfortunate event like the one experienced at Dawlish shows how important the railway is to the region's people and its economy and I hope our efforts to restore here show how seriously we treat that responsibility."
The closure had cost businesses in the South West tens of millions of pounds.
Carolyn Custerson, chairman of Visit Devon and chief executive of English Riviera, added: "It's excellent news that the train line is to re-open by April 4.
"Transport links to Devon are crucial for our visitor economy and having the line open by Easter will be a huge boost to consumer confidence, helping to kick-start tourism in the region."
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