Resilience work begins as Network Rail invests £9.5 million to provide a better railway for Devon passengers.(Network Rail)

Resilience work begins as Network Rail invests £9.5 million to provide a better railway for Devon passengers  Axe Valley resilience model

Axe Valley & resilience model.(Network Rail)

Work to install a £9.5 million flood defence scheme to protect the railway line between Exeter and Salisbury began this morning.

Two 550-tonne underground bridge structures made of culvert sections (hollow concrete rectangular structures) will be installed underneath the railway line at Axe Valley on sites at Axe Farm and Broom Lane.

The installation of these structures will reduce the likelihood of flooding from a one in five year risk, to a one in twenty year risk, based on Network Rail’s flood risk modelling.

The line between Axminster and Crewkerne has been prone to flooding in recent years, causing significant delays and disruption to passengers.

Rebecca Wells, project manager for Network Rail, said:

“Flooding can be devastating for local communities and it’s crucial we do all we can to protect the railway and keep the train service moving.

“This £9.5 million investment, part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, will significantly reduce the risk of the line flooding in the Axe Valley, benefiting passengers and the local community for many years to come.”

More than 100 members of Network Rail’s ‘team orange’ will be delivering the project over the next seven months, with work due to be completed in December this year.

During these seven monthsmore than 9,000 tonnes of soil will be excavated from the site to make room for the flood defence.

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