Plans to extend a rockfall shelter that will protect the only railway line into the south-west for the next 100 years, have today (Friday 19th March) received confirmation of government funding. £37.4m of funding from the Department for Transport will help Network Rail realise its plans to build a 209m long extension of the rockfall shelter north of Parsons Tunnel between Dawlish and Holcombe.
The rockfall shelter will play a major role in helping protect trains against falling rocks along this vital stretch of railway that connects 50 towns and cities across the south west with the rest of the country. Parsons Tunnel was previously extended 100 years ago and Network Rail proposes to extend that further by providing a rockfall shelter in modern materials, but with open sides rather than the previous brick built enclosed tunnel extension.
Construction is expected to start in August with the work expected to take around a year to complete.
Prior to the funding being secured, Network Rail submitted its plans for the rockfall shelter to Teignbridge District Council in February, with more information available on the Council’s website. Environmental protection is a key focus for the project and, following early feedback from Teignbridge District Council, Network Rail has carried out additional studies and submitted reports that set out its approach to ecological protection and management of potential impacts on wildlife habitats.