Landslip causes further rail misery for South West travellers

Landslip near Crewkerne Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption The landslip meant passengers could not get to Exeter by train

The weather has caused more damage to the South West's rail network with a landslip on the Exeter to Waterloo line, Network Rail has reported.

It said the incident at Crewkerne in Somerset meant passengers could not get to Exeter by train.

In Dawlish, where waves destroyed the main railway line, shipping containers are being used as a breakwater.

Earlier coastguards warned of "phenomenal" waves of more than 45ft (14m) for the region.

Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP for Exeter, tweeted: "Just got worse: Landslip shuts Waterloo line at Crewkerne - no trains at all in or out of the Westcountry. Nearest services Bristol & Yeovil."

Network Rail said it had spent the night spraying concrete onto the cliff and damaged sections of the track, which had connected Devon and Cornwall to the rest of the UK.

It added that the rubble-filled containers would be used to help temporarily protect the section and estimated it would cost £10m to repair the line.

Torbay and Lyme Bay were "stacked-up with merchant vessels taking shelter".

The BBC's Kevin Heathorn said hundreds of people gathered on Plymouth Hoe earlier to watch the waves.

He tweeted: "I've never seen it so busy in winter. It is windy and rough."

In Porthleven, in Cornwall, members of the public who were storm-watching were turned away by the emergency services because of dangerous conditions.

High tide passed in the town without any serious incidents, Cornwall Council's Silver Command Unit said.

The unit, which co-ordinates emergency services and agencies involved in responding to severe weather, was stood down at 14:00 GMT.

A spokesman said: "There have been no major incidents experienced as a result of the strong winds and large waves. The heavy rainfall, which was forecast to affect Cornwall later today, has instead moved to Devon.

"All the agencies will continue to monitor the weather and have robust plans in place to respond if the situation changes."

Image copyright Simon Crowgher/Red Bull Storm Chase
Image caption Despite warnings by the coastguards to stay away from the region's beaches, professional windsurfers have travelled to Gwithian, in Cornwall, to ride the waves
Image caption Newquay's coastline was attacked by high waves as high tide arrived
Image caption High tide in Porthleven has passed without any serious incidents
Image caption There are concerns for Kingsand's clock tower which has been battered by waves
Image caption Tinside Lido, Plymouth's open-air swimming pool, is almost submerged

In Kingsand, where dozens of homes were damaged by huge waves on Wednesday, concerns remain for the clock tower.

The BBC's Chris Buckler said: "Its base is gradually being eroded away by the force of the crashing water.

"As the waves and weather continue their indiscriminate assault on the Cornish coast, every effort is being made to keep the clock tower standing."

In Bodmin, St Petroc's Church rectory is at risk of collapse after the chimney was damaged in strong winds in January.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHuge waves are continuing to batter coastal areas

Despite warnings by the coastguards to stay away from the region's beaches, professional windsurfers travelled to Gwithian, in Cornwall, to ride the waves.

The Red Bull Storm Chase competition, which has taken place off Japan and Tasmania, brought its own safety teams to assist surfers.

There is a Met Office amber warning for high winds in place for the south-west of England, with 60-70mph coastal gusts.

The Environment Agency has issued several flood warnings and alerts for Devon and Cornwall.

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