Teignmouth rail line plan delayed after consultation

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Image source, Network Rail
Image caption,
Rail managers are looking at ways to protect the line between Holcombe and Teignmouth

Plans to move a railway line further out to sea to avoid cliff falls have been delayed after an "unprecedented" public response to the scheme.

Network Rail said it was going to "take more time to revise the plans" for the line north of Teignmouth in Devon.

The 1.1-mile (1.8km) stretch is vulnerable to damage from rock falls and overtopping waves.

Critics said the scheme would result in the loss of about a mile of beach and was "totally excessive".

Richard Ward, from Save Our Beach, welcomed the decision, saying: "It is just too grand - there are simpler, cheaper solutions which they can start talking to us about now.

"It is just far too costly and more expensive per km than HS2, and a totally excessive plan from day one and totally unjustified expenditure. A better solution involves rock shelters and some breakwaters."

Image caption,
Rail lines were left dangling after storm damage in nearby Dawlish in 2014

Network Rail said more than half of the 1,600 people who responded to the consultation opposed the plans, but "there was a really strong support for doing something, as doing nothing is not an option".

The main line at nearby Dawlish collapsed and was washed into the sea during storms in February 2014.

Work to raise the sea wall at Dawlish stared in June but Network Rail is also looking at ways to protect the line between Holcombe and Teignmouth.

Richard Griffith, from the rail operator, said: "The railway is an absolutely vital artery for the whole of the south west.

"We have to keep that railway open at all costs. But we also have to consider the impact on the local community and the environment."

Further consultation will take place next year.

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