Dawlish is a pleasant seaside resort town located on the south coast of Devon. It features an attractive sand and shingle beach flanked by a sea wall that stretches the length of the bay. The town’s Grade II listed railway station sits atop the sea wall, as does the railway line, offering pleasant views out to sea; however, its location makes it vulnerable to the extremities of the weather.
In 2014, Dawlish’s coastal railway line suffered severe damage following heavy winter storms. In response, Network Rail introduced several new measures to improve the long-term resilience of the railway connection. This is particularly important as the line is the only rail link from Devon and Cornwall to the rest of Britain.
A key feature of the improvement works was the construction of a new sea wall, which is 415m in length. Higher than the previous sea wall, it also incorporates a new high-level promenade at the same elevation as the station platforms. In addition, users of the promenade are now protected from the waves by a curved parapet wall that stands 1.1m tall.
At various points along the walkway, raised areas have been created with benches, allowing visitors to enjoy the sea view. Pedestrian access to the beach has been added, while a footbridge connects the two sections of sea wall. In addition, a new accessible station footbridge has been introduced to the site, complete with lifts.