Parsons Tunnel rockfall shelter extension

Open-sided rockfall shelter: visual of Network Rail’s proposed design at the north end of Parsons Tunnel.

Plans have been submitted by Network Rail for a 209-metre extension to the rockfall shelter at the north end of Parsons Tunnel, between Dawlish and Teignmouth.

The work is part of the South West Rail Resilience Programme, initiated to secure the railway along the sea wall stretch in south Devon. The plans, submitted to Teignbridge District Council for prior approval under permitted development rights, cover the extension of the existing rockfall shelter, with the aim of protecting trains from falling rocks. The shelter will be open-sided to preserve passengers’ view of the coastline and will be constructed out of pre-made concrete wall panels and beams on the roof. If approval is granted, construction will start in August, with work expected to take around a year to complete. Preparatory work is due to begin at the top of the cliffs on 22 March.

Parsons Tunnel is the longest and most southerly of five on the stretch between Dawlish and Teignmouth. The work here forms the third phase of resilience work on this section of the route, following on from the completion of a first phase of work to build a new sea wall at Dawlish and the start of a second phase on an adjacent stretch. Phases four and five respectively comprise a geotechnical scheme between Kennaway and Parsons Tunnels and the most significant which is to move the railway away from the cliffs on the Parsons Tunnel to Teignmouth section.