Residents blast ‘horrifying’ Network Rail plans to move a storm-damaged coastal rail line onto a beauty spot beach
- Campaigners say it would destroy more than half of Holcombe beach in Devon
- Network Rail wants to move a mile of the railway line away from crumbling cliffs
- Members of the Save Holcombe Beach campaign said there must be alternatives
Residents of a seaside resort have been horrified by plans to move a storm-hit coastal rail line on to a beauty spot beach in Devon.
Network Rail has announced plans to move a mile-long stretch of the main railway away from crumbling cliffs and further towards the sea.
Campaigners claimed it would involve the destruction of more than half of Holcombe beach near Teignmouth, Devon.
The scheme aims to ensure that the rail line is better protected from cliff falls, land slips and damage caused by the sea during extreme weather.
Artists impressions for the new rail line. If the project went ahead the building work would begin in 2022 and take up to six years
Network Rail said the plans were the best possible solution to preserve the line that connects Devon and Cornwall to the rest of the country.
Ruth Ward from the Save Holcombe Beach campaign said there must be alternatives to destroying ‘such a beautiful beach’.
‘Surely in this day and age we know the sea is rising and moving it out to sea is going to make the problem worse.’
In 2014 storm damage cost the local economy £1billion as a result of the six-week closure of the line according to a spokesman for Network Rail.
The rail line runs directly alongside the popular red sand beach (pictured) which is adored by residents and families
He said: ‘Leaving it is not an option.
‘Changing our plans to potentially re-grade the cliff would mean we would have to close the railway line.
‘It would have a massive impact on the peninsula, all the way down through Devon and into Cornwall.’
Network Rail said the plans were not final and further consultation would be held.
If the project went ahead the building work would begin in 2022 and take up to six years.
The proposals have been part of a broader series of plans by the company to safeguard the line.
These included the expansion of the sea wall which began at Dawlish in June following a major collapse and destruction of the rail line in February 2014.
That project was expected to be completed in January 2020 at a cost of £30million.