England

Government funding plea after main rail line cut off

  • 9 February 2014
  • From the section England
A wave crashes onto a damaged section of railway track, as repair workers walk nearby
Teams are working in six-hour shifts - between high tides - to repair the track at Dawlish in Devon

A Devon council is calling for more government funding to improve rail lines after all routes into the South West were cut off.

Rachel Sutton, acting leader of Exeter City Council, said "significant" new money was needed to keep routes open.

A landslip in Somerset on Saturday cut off Devon and Cornwall but the line has since reopened partially.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the government was doing what it could to get rail links restored quickly.

The main rail line at Dawlish - destroyed by a storm earlier in the week - still remains closed and teams are working in six-hour shifts - between high tides - to repair the track.

Collapsed wall in Plymouth
A road has been closed in Stoke, Plymouth, after a wall collapsed

Ms Sutton said rail lines were blocked near Exeter 12 months ago because of flooding and government funding was needed to protect lines which were "vulnerable in a number of places".

She said the council had invested £3m in sea defences but needed more help from central government.

"The local authorities can't do this on their own, particularly when we're having to cut back because of cuts to our grant from central government," she said.

Meanwhile, in Plymouth, Somerset Place has been closed after a wall collapsed.

Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted that the fire service conducted a precautionary check using thermal imaging.

Elsewhere, walkers are being warned of slippery conditions on the South West's coastal paths.

Brixham Coastguard said the routes were "very wet" and warned people to stay clear of big waves.

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