UK storms: Damage across Devon and Cornwall
- 15 February 2014
- From the section England
The reopening of the South West's main rail link will be delayed after storms caused more damage at Dawlish in Devon.
Massive waves crashed over a temporary breakwater put in place after storm damage last week left the rail track suspended in mid air.
Julian Burnell from Network Rail said the tops of the breakwater containers were "peeled back like banana skins".
It had been hoped to complete the repairs in six weeks but that was now "highly unlikely", Mr Burnell said.
He told BBC News the timescale to get the trains running again had been based on the assumption there was no further damage.
"Unfortunately there has been more damage to the sea wall and until we can properly assess the extent of it, it is impossible to say how long the delay will be," he told BBC News.
However, Mr Burnell said concrete sprayed on to the damaged cliff wall appeared to have "held" and a scaffolding bridge erected to enable access for repair engineers did not appear to have been damaged.
Structural engineers and building controllers have inspected 30 homes in nearby Sea Lawn Terrace that had to be evacuated on Friday night amid safety concerns.
Elsewhere, the storms have left thousands of households without power, trees have been brought down and there has been flooding and structural damage.
More than a thousand 999 calls were made to the police and fire services over a 24-hour period - a "significantly" higher number than normal.
An aerial survey of train lines in Cornwall was carried out earlier after all services were suspended because of flooding on the lines.
First Great Western said most branch-line services had now resumed but the main line between Penzance and Plymouth would remain closed until Sunday.
In other developments, a crewman badly injured at sea on Friday has been flown to hospital.
When the 36-year-old Thai national was hurt in a fall on board the Mathawee Naree off the Cornish coast on Friday night, conditions were too severe for an air or sea rescue.
However Falmouth Coastguard said an RNAS Culdrose helicopter was able to airlift the casualty on Saturday morning.
The coastguard also reported that a decomposed whale that washed ashore at Marazion had been dead "for some time".
Cornwall Council and the Natural History Museum had been informed and the carcass would be "disposed of in due course", it added.
An 80ft (25m) oak tree - nearly 200 years old - closed the main A379 near Starcross in Devon, and a wall at Hyde Park Infant School in Plymouth was demolished by a horse chestnut tree.
Four people were rescued from cars about to be washed away at Slapton in south Devon on Friday night. Two cars were left trapped on the coast road after storms covered it in sand and shingle.
Western Power Distribution said at 16:00 GMT about 7,000 households in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset were still without electricity, as engineers dealt with more than 250 separate incidents - some of which were "very challenging".
More than 50 Environment Agency flood warnings and alerts remain in place for the South West, including two severe warnings, meaning a danger to life.
Flooding was reported across the region, including Newlyn, Penzance, Kingsand, Plymouth, Kingsbridge and Salcombe.
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