Military Used To Boost Flood Defences
Rail bosses have told Sky News their immediate concern is re opening the only mainline route into the far South West after it suffered major storm damage.
Patrick Hallgate of Network Rail, which is responsible for the track, said all options were being considered to shore up the coastal stretch of the Gr omega watches eat Western line at Dawlish, in Devon, which is particularly vulner omega watches able to the weather, and has been closed previously.
The damage was caused after the sea wall was breached by massive waves, which washed away the ground under the track and left the rails hanging in mid air.
The line is a main transport route for the region, and its closure will have a significant impact on the area economy.
Mr Hallgate said: “From what we have seen so far and the extent of the damage, there four sections of railway line that need to be repaired and we do believe six weeks is achievable.
“At the moment though it really is dependent on when we can get in there and complete the works.”
Carrying out urgent repairs were the main priority he said rather than other suggested solutions raised over the years, such as re routing the historic line away from the coast.
Mr Hallgate said: “In terms of the business communities of Devon and Cornwall and connections to London it absolutely the right thing to do, and we have got to do it quickly.
“Any other debate about any other alternatives is something that far in the future beyond six weeks.
“If the debate turns to that we will have that debate at the appropriate time.
“All I am bothered about at the moment is getting this railway line open, not just for Dawlish but also for the wider South West.”
In term of extra defences, Mr Hallgate said: “We are looking at all options at the moment whether it be breaks out at sea or a better defence to the actual sea wall itself.”
Conservative MP for Newton Abbot Anne Marie Morris, whose constituency includes the stretch of line affected, argued repairing and maintaining the route was vital.
She told Sky News: “This is the key artery to the South West, and for this community which is very dependent on toursim without this partiular artery and where it is, that would be severely impacted.
“If you compare the cost of a compltely new line that is at the moment i think out the question. It was looked at by the last government and they ruled it out.
Anne Woollacott and her husband Dean helped build a 30ft steel barrage as well as a canvas water bag across the back of their garden to hold back around 2ft of water that would have flooded their home and other properties.
Anne who has had little sleep over the last few nights sai omega watches d: “There be no sleep for anyone in this house tonight, we couldn anyway.
“You just got to battle on and fight and hope to keep the water away.”
A group of local builders used a truck to transport sandbags around the village which is cut off in parts by water as deep as 3ft.
Sam Notaro, who has already seen flooding to his home, helped others set up sandbags. He told Sky News: “It terrible, horrendo omega watches us, the waters are coming up 20mm an hour.”
Earlier, police used their Skyshout system to call on residents in the village, along with Saltmoor and Fordgate, to evacuate the area following a severe weather warning.
The warning indicates there is a significant danger to life and Somerset and Avon police said it was “strongly recommending that anyone in those three villages leave the area immediately”.
A rest centre for those affected was set up in a nearby bowls club but hundreds of residents checked into hotels. Such was the demand that some had to travel far to get accommodation.
North Moor resident Debbie Perring said: “We decided to leave our home because of the danger but it very upsetting.
“We lived in our house for 32 years and have never had to leave. We staying in Exeter some 35 miles away as it was the only hotel that seemed to have space.”