Network Rail begins work on second section of £80m Dawlish sea wall


Network Rail, the owner and infrastructure manager of the railway network in Great Britain, has commenced construction on the second section of the new £80m Dawlish sea wall in Devon, UK.

The sea wall will protect the railway and town from rising sea levels and extreme weather for generations to come.

The work on the 415m wall section began following years of detailed studies, designs and joint works between marine, coastal and railway engineering experts.

Slated to be completed in late next year, the section of the wall will run from Dawlish station to the Coastguard breakwater east of the station.

Construction on the section between the station and the Colonnade breakwater that will connect the new wall at Marine Parade will commence shortly.

Network Rail said that the contractor BAM Nuttall will use an eight-legged, self-contained walking jack-up barge known as a ‘Wavewalker’ to complete the project.

The equipment will be used to safely access the sea face of the railway embankment along Marine Parade and will help to complete the piling works at the sea wall.

Upon completion, the new sea wall will be higher than the existing wall and will have a curved edge to send waves back to the sea. It will have a high-level, wider and safer promenade; pedestrian access to the beach and also an accessible station footbridge with lifts.

UK Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “I’m really pleased to see that work is starting on the next phase of the sea wall and that the innovative ‘Wavewalker’ is being used to construct it – a first for UK rail.

“Our investment will provide a resilient railway for generations to come, and forms part of our commitment to deliver reliable, punctual journeys across Devon and Cornwall, helping the south-west build back better, supporting the local economy and tourism.”


The Wavewalker arriving at Dawlish. (Credit: Network Rail.)  

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