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Update: Trainline between Exeter and Taunton reopens

By Rich_Booth  |  Posted: December 28, 2012

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Update:

The Exeter and Taunton line has now reopened and a normal service will now resume.

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Some long overdue good news came to South West train users on Thursday evening with the announcement that services between Exeter and Taunton will start running again at 12pm on Friday - 18 hours ahead of schedule.

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The service had been affected because the River Exe burst its banks and caused damage to the track.

Network Rail have said that the use of temporary dams (see video) are to thank for the quick recovery.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: "We have learned some lessons from the flooding in November and done some things differently. 

"There's nothing that we could do to prevent the River Exe bursting its banks and causing the track damage – but we have done some things proactively to minimise damage to the signalling.

"In November it took three or four days to fix the track where the ballast had washed away, but nearly three weeks to repair the damage to the signalling equipment.

"This time we used temporary dams to divert the flow of the water away from the lineside signaling equipment. 

"This is the first time this technology has ever been used on the railway in Britain and it seems to have helped contain the damage well so far. 

"We also removed some of the lineside signaling equipment such as the point operating equipment at Cowley Bridge Junction and stored it in a dry place so that it can be reinstalled undamaged after the water's gone down. 

"We've also been working closely with the Met Office and the Environment Agency to keep up to date with the predicted river levels.

"A lot of network operations people have worked tirelessly through the Christmas holiday period when they hadn't planned to, restoring the railway as quickly as possible."

Video: Engineering work at Cowley Bridge on Sunday December 23rd. Video by Mike Yearworth.

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