It seems from current forecasts and commentaries that we are in for a little more snow with strong Easterly winds. Now while we are not expecting the same level of disruption across the region, we may indeed have a little. So what will happen and when are the conditions most likely to affect the railway line and access to the sea wall?
Saturday – High tides are at 0637 & 1858. The all important Easterly wind is due to increase from 20 to 40 mph around 6am and will continue in the 40’s until around 10pm. This means that Cross Country Trains may well be subject to alterations on their Voyager services but all GWR and Cross Country HST services should continue as timetabled. No doubt there will be the standard arrangement for joint ticket acceptance as these companies always work together in these circumstances.
We are expecting to see overtopping of waves from 6am until around 10am and again from around 5pm until around 9pm.
There is also the possibility of light snow from late morning until mid afternoon.
Sunday – High tides are at 0713 & 1932 and again the Easterly winds are back in the mid 40 mph area. Similar to Saturday we would expect overtopping of waves for two hours either side of the high tide times. One key factor to mention here is that being a Sunday there should be very little disruption to the morning schedule as the first train through Dawlish isn’t until 0905. There could well be some disruption again around the evening high tide.
There is also a Yellow weather warning from the Met Office from 0005 until 2355 for snow and ice. The snow is currently forecast from around 6am until lunchtime but it shouldn’t be anywhere near as much as we had two weeks ago.
As always we will be broadcasting 24 hours a day across our cameras. You can watch here https://www.dawlishbeach.com/cameras/ or follow us on Facebook or Twitter with regular updates.
At this stage i would just like to point out that disruption is always kept to the minimum. Since the line closure of 2014 the wall had not been closed to railway traffic whatsoever until two weeks ago. The usual over reaction when a voyager train is cancelled is not a fair reflection of how hard Network Rail, GWR and Crosscountry work to provide a rail link between Exeter and Plymouth. When we look back at the disruption the Beast from the East caused i believe it is both fair and prudent to acknowledge that the seawall suffered far less disruption than other areas of the rail network.
Again this week we have had issues at Exeter with flooding but we don’t get the same sensational headlines about trains not reaching Plymouth. This wall has served the railway for over 175 years and has been breached 5 times in it’s history. It’s fair to say that the line has been closed due to routine maintenance far more often than by the weather conditions.
The Easterly winds that give us those iconic and sensational pictures are not common, maybe two or three times over an average winter. We do acknowledge that the future safeguarding of the wall and railway needs to be worked on but in the mean time, who doesn’t enjoy travelling on one of the most famous stretches of railway line in the UK? It should be a national monument to unbelievable engineering.
The view from our cameras two weeks ago.
As always we strongly recommend that you do not venture down to the wall for a closer look or photo opportunity. Not only do you put yourself in danger but those in the emergency services who are sent to check or rescue those in peril.