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Rail line out of the South West could be cut for a week

By marcprosser  |  Posted: December 23, 2012

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Flood waters could keep a vital train line to and from the South West closed almost till Big Ben rings in 2013.  

The line between Tiverton and Exeter is currently blocked and damaged by the floods and Network Rail has admitted that they currently have to wait for the waters to subside, before they can remove the plastic dams that are protecting signal boxes at Cowley Bridge, Devon, and begin repairing it. 

"Once we're assured from the Environment Agency and the Met Office that the flooding isn't going to occur again, we'll then remove the dams that we've got in place. We'll then start work on the structure of the track which, depending on how bad it is, it could take from between three days and five days to fix," Network Rail engineer Steve Hawkins told BBC Devon. 

With more rain forecast for tonight and tomorrow, that could mean that it might take up to a week before the line is fully repaired. 

Mr Hawkins told BBC Devon that flood defences in the area had been installed a decade ago and had prevented floods until this winter. 

"It happened 12 years ago, but in the past four weeks its happened three times," he said. 

"We did put protection in 12 years ago and it's done us proud up until now. But we are looking at other flood defences now."

 "We do apologise to our customers at this most important time but the weather has affected us."

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