£5 million pound upgrade of rail line between Pinhoe and Axminster


An aerial view of the Honiton tunnel, where Network Rail will be upgrading the line. - Credit: Network Rail.

The trainline between Pinhoe and Axminster will be closed for five-days in September for a £5 million pound upgrade of the line. 

Network Rail engineers will carry out around £5m of ‘delay-busting’ upgrades from Monday, September 19, to Friday, September, 23, 2022.

The five-day closure will give workers access to the railway to carry out landslip prevention work at Honiton Tunnel. 

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “The West of England line is a key part of the railway on Southern region so it’s vital we continue to invest to give our customers the reliable service they deserve. 

“While we have tiny electronic sensors in the ground at Honiton Tunnel to monitor any movement so we can keep our passengers safe, it’s incredibly important that we carry out these works to stabilise the earth so we can prevent future landslips and lengthy disruption. 

“By doing the work over five days means we can avoid a series of back-to-back weekend closures which would be even more disruptive, plus we can take advantage of the extended access to complete other upgrades and vital track maintenance.” 

As well as installing two retaining walls - 32 metres and 16 metres in length - sheet piles (metal posts with concrete planks in the middle for added support) will protect the line from lengthy closures caused by landslips.  

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On top of that we are improving existing drainage systems and installing a new one. So, together with strengthening the cutting, the improved drainage will make the line more resilient to extreme weather and heavy rainfall.  

East Devon District Council will also use the railway closure to complete the flood prevention scheme in Feniton. 

Peter Williams, South Western Railway’s commercial director, said: “Customers intending to travel from Monday until Friday should check before they travel.  

“We recognise the decision to close the line for an entire working week will have a significant impact on those who use the line. We would like to thank those affected customers for their patience and understanding as this important modernisation work is carried out.” 

Similar earthworks will be carried out along the route in December.