Easter trade relief as Dawlish rail line set to reopen on April 4: Time lapse video of repair

Want to see how Dawlish rail line is being rebuilt? Watch this time lapse video

Want to see how Dawlish rail line is being rebuilt? Watch this time lapse video

First published in Devon

With the vital rail link into Cornwall and South Devon set to reopen as soon as April 4, here is a look at what has been done so far.

Around 100 metres of sea wall was destroyed by storms causing a significant stretch of railway to collapse into the sea.

Contractors have been working around the clock to get the line back up and trains running again.

This week has seen reinforced steel installed.

Mid Devon Star:

Timeline of the damage and repair.

Timeline
Tuesday 4 March
Track is built for the main site (between the tunnels) and surveys are taking place to check ground conditions. Around half the new coping stones needed at the station platform are installed.

Thursday 27 February
All steels now fixed to the rear wall and concrete pour to the main breach complete.

Wednesday 26 February
Track is being built for the area between the station and tunnel, and preparation work starts to install shuttering for the rear wall at the main site and at Dawlish Warren. Concrete pouring to the walkway continues and new coping stones begin to be laid at the station platform.

Monday 24 February
Work on clearing and restoring the parapet walls continues, and reinforcing the concrete foundations with steel begins at the main breach site.

Friday 21 February
More concrete foundations laid and work to restore the station progresses.

Wednesday 19 February
A concrete foundation is laid in the main breach as well as the secondary breach at Dawlish Warren.

Repairs have started to the station platform, and more debris is cleared along the coastal route.

Monday 17 February
Concrete foundations start to be laid but the additional damage to the sea wall caused by Friday' nights storm will impact on how quickly we can restore the track.

Sunday 16 February
Friday night's storm caused significant further damage to the sea wall with a further 10-20 metres destroyed. An additional four shipping containers are put into place to protect the new damage to the sea wall.

Saturday 15 February
The temporary sea wall at Dawlish is swamped by massive seas during the night which battered and damaged the 10-tonne shipping containers forming the temporary sea wall.

Further sections of the old sea wall are destroyed - the breach is 30% bigger - as well as a lesser secondary breach closer to Dawlish Warren.

Wednesday 12 February
11 shipping containers are welded together and filled with sand and stone to form a new temporary sea wall, and scaffolding is erected to give workers better access to start repairs.

Work progresses on building a cable bridge so we can pass services and signalling equipment over the rail bed to allow us to reconnect and take the recabling.

Tuesday 11 February
Construction starts on a temporary sea-wall using sand and stone-filled shipping containers, and scaffolding is being erected to start work on the rebuild.

Monday 10 February
A temporary breakwater is erected from rubble-filled shipping containers allowing the start of repairs to the main area of damage.

Sunday 9 February
A row of shipping containers is being put in place and filled with rubble to provide a breakwater, and concrete spraying continues between high tides.

Saturday 8 February
Rail and concrete sleepers cut away, placed across the bottom of the damaged section and being reinforced with sprayed fast-drying concrete. It is hoped this will absorb enough of the force of the waves so that the weakened sub-soil will not erode further.

Specialist contractors, engineers and suppliers from across the country are mobilised and the offer of discussions with the Ministry of Defence to see if there is any help available from armed forces based in the south-west.

The most damaged platform at Dawlish station has been demolished and will be rebuilt in the coming weeks.

Services have resumed between Plymouth and Newton Abbot, but there will be no trains east of Newton Abbot to Exeter until the line is repaired.

Friday 7 February
Rails and sleepers are cut away from the hole and removed so it is safe for staff to remove debris.

Concrete spraying begins, with the aim of shoring up the sea wall before another Atlantic storm system arrives on Saturday, while work is ongoing to demolish the most damaged platform at Dawlish station itself, prior to rebuilding.

Thursday 6 February
Machinery is delivered to site and work begins.

Rails and sleepers spanning the hole in the sea wall are cut off and removed. A ramp into the hole is constructed for access.

Wednesday 5 February
At first light on Wednesday, engineers arrive on site but are unable to assess the damage due to the continuing storm.

Teams of engineers, contractors and suppliers head to Dawlish. Work begins at the on site compound to store machinery to shore up damage, including spray-concrete equipment.

Tuesday 4 February
Weather forecasts warn of a major storm off the coast of Devon and Cornwall.

Our system of marine buoys predict ‘black’ storm conditions, with six-metre waves - the first ‘black’ conditions predicted since we installed the system in 2007.

At 3.15pm the line through Dawlish is closed to trains, staff are withdrawn to safe locations.

Through the evening, serious overtopping by waves is reported. Reports of damage to the railway and adjoining land start coming through at around 9pm.

Track inspections between 11pm and 2.30am confirm the extent of the damage.

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