New Devon railway route 'keeps most of' Holcombe beach

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Media captionThe fly-through - a computer-animated simulation - reveals the new rail plans for Dawlish

Plans to move a storm-affected coastal railway line while saving "most of" a popular tourist beach have been released by Network Rail.

Proposals for the section between Holcombe and Teignmouth in Devon are aimed at preventing the line being blocked by falling rocks from cliffs.

People had been concerned the move might mean the loss of Holcombe beach.

Network Rail said it was now only moving the line away from the most hazardous areas.

Image caption The rail line runs directly alongside the popular red sand beach

The proposals for the 1.1 mile (1.8km) stretch have been part of broader plans by Network Rail to safeguard the line.

Campaigners claimed the previous "horrifying" plans would involve the destruction of more than half of Holcombe beach.

Clive Shepperd-Allen, who has campaigned to keep the beach, said he would "reserve judgement" on the plans and wants a public inquiry which he said was the "only realistic means" for "proper scrutiny".

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption The line is being moved away from the cliffs to stop it being blocked by falling rocks

Part of the line at Dawlish, which runs along a stretch of beach, was washed away in fierce storms in 2014, leaving much of Devon and Cornwall without a railway connection to the rest of the country.

Network Rail is building a new 25ft (7.5m) high sea wall to prevent that happening again for another 100 years.

But the company has also been planning to protect the line from cliffs next to the line between Holcombe and Teignmouth.

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Digital illustrations of how the line might look have been produced

The vulnerable section of railway was closed for six weeks following a landslide in 2014.

Mike Gallop, route director for Network Rail's western route, said it had "listened to feedback" and the "updated plans will ensure a resilient railway line for the whole south west while maintaining most of the beach".

Network Rail says the revised plans will also mean a wider and safer coastal path for walkers.

The detailed proposals will be on show at 10 consultation events starting in Dawlish Warren.

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption The sea defences at Dawlish were destroyed in 2014 and the line was closed for six weeks

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