Network Rail has installed a new flood defence to protect the railway and passenger journeys to the North of Exeter.
The barrier was installed at the end of May, and is part of a £26.5 million project to reduce disruption to long-distance and Tarka Line rail services.
The metal flood defence can quickly be assembled across the railway when poor weather is forecast.
When not in use, the barrier remains unseen, which means the local landscape remains largely unchanged.
The first part of the project was the installation of the flood drains in 2018, which allow water to drain underneath the railway.
Mike Gallop, Network Rail’s Route Director for the Western route, said: “We are delighted to be further improving the reliability of journeys for passengers travelling to and from the south west. While we can’t control the weather, we can put in place measures that will help protect the railway from flooding and services not running. The area north of Exeter regularly floods and stops rail services running between Devon, Cornwall and the rest of the country. It’s vital for passengers, businesses and the regional economy that we prevent this from happening. The new flood barrier is one of the latest measures we’ve put in place, working with the Environment Agency, to reduce this from happening last year. In February this year, we experienced an extreme amount of wet weather and we were able to see that these measures are already starting to help.”
Simon Dart, Flood and Coastal Management Advisor for the Environment Agency, added:
“We were keen to support Network Rail’s project that helps protect this major route from flooding. The barrier is a part of the new Exeter flood defence scheme and helps to better protect the St David’s area of Exeter, including hundreds of homes and commercial development, plus strategically important roads and infrastructure.”
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