England

South West rail line to reopen on time despite 'horrendous weather'

Whiteball tunnel, Somerset
Image caption Whiteball tunnel, between Taunton and Tiverton, was closed on 18 January

The main rail line between Exeter and Taunton, closed for three weeks to repair a tunnel, is to reopen on time despite the "horrendous weather".

Network Rail said work on the Whiteball tunnel, between Taunton and Tiverton, was needed to prevent it flooding.

The line was closed on 18 January with buses replacing trains between Taunton, Tiverton Parkway and Exeter St Davids.

Despite strong winds and rain battering the South West the line is due to be back in service next week.

Mike Gallop, from Network Rail, said engineers had been working on the 170-year-old tunnel "24 hours a day in all weather conditions" to complete the work.

Image caption Despite the "absolutely horrendous" weather conditions the line is due to be back in service next week.

"The weather conditions the guys have been working in have been absolutely horrendous," he said.

"But we're due to finish the works on time, on programme and on budget.

"So going forward into the start of February we'll have a train service that's back to normal for Somerset and the South West of England."

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