The Dawlish train line has re-opened following round the clock work by the 'orange army' of engineers. Here's how they did it.
The line runs along the coast next to the sea. The high tides were so strong they broke high above the sea wall, placing a lot of pressure on the foundations and washing the track away.
The railway line in Dawlish connected large parts of Cornwall and Devon was swept away during February’s storms. It left the track looking more like a broken roller-coaster, and made getting around difficult for dozens of people.
This caused a 100 meter stretch of railway line to collapse into the sea. Homes and roads next to the railway line were also damaged though fortunately no one was hurt.
Train services between Exeter and Plymouth were stopped and engineers were quickly sent to assess the damage and see what they could do to try and rebuild the track.
They used 18 steel containers to reduce the strength and force of the water hitting the sea wall. The tides would then hit the containers and not the crumbling wall.
Parts of the route runs next to a cliff face, and there were concerns that a rain-soaked cliff face was at risk of collapsing onto the track.
Engineers decided to create a controlled landslide using high powered water cannons and even helicopter water bombs to force soil down to the bottom of the hill and into the sea. This would reduce the risk of earth falling later and damaging the track.
Over 5,000 tons of concrete and 150 tons of steel were used to re-build the railway line, with engineers working around the clock to get the job done. They were known locally as the “orange army” due to the brightly coloured jackets they wore whilst working.