Devon main line reopened after flooding

Cowley Bridge Junction
Image caption Network Rail said its engineers "worked tirelessly through the Christmas holiday period" to repair the track after the flooding

The main railway line connecting the South West to the rest of England has reopened after closing for a week due to flooding.

The line was blocked between Tiverton Parkway and Exeter St David's when the River Exe swamped Cowley Bridge Junction on Saturday.

Passengers endured severe disruption as buses replaced trains.

Network Rail reopened the line on Friday afternoon after repairs and said a normal service would resume.

The company said its engineers "worked tirelessly through the Christmas holiday period" to repair the track.

Plastic dams protected signalling at Cowley Bridge where workers have been replacing ballast, which was washed away, from under the tracks.

'Lessons learned'

Some branch line services in Devon and Cornwall are still closed.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: "We have learned some lessons from the flooding in November and done some things differently.

"There's nothing that we could do to prevent the River Exe bursting its banks and causing the track damage - but we have done some things proactively to minimise damage to the signalling."

In Devon, the Barnstaple to Exeter branch line remains closed.

Image caption The track was damaged following heavy rain

Ballast has been washed out in several locations and the line is not expected to open until after New Year's Day.

Network Rail said it did not have a date for the reopening of the Exeter to Exmouth branch line.

It closed after parts of the line were flushed out by heavy rain at Lympstone.

In Cornwall the Liskeard to Looe branch line remains closed but is under repair and Network Rail said it hoped to reopen the line within the next few days.

Services between Par and Newquay are operating on a reduced timetable.

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