Rail disruption as flooding damages track
Rail travellers heading in and out of the region faced major problems yesterday as services between Exeter and Taunton – part of the mainline between Penzance and Paddington – were suspended because of flooding.
A spokesman for Network Rail said: "We have had a serious wash-out of ballast at Cowley Bridge which has damaged the track and both up and down lines remain blocked.
"The ballast has been washed out on a 220-yard section of track and we have no information at the moment as to when the line will reopen again."
Services from Exeter to London's Waterloo, a diversionary route in case of problems elsewhere on the network, were affected by flood damage between Pinhoe and Honiton with services having to terminate at Yeovil.
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Meanwhile, problems were also reported on the Barnstaple branch line in North Devon. The spokesman added: "We have been using that route to take equipment up to the Tarka line where improvement works have started.
"It is possible we will have to halt work on that and move some of the engineers to help repair track elsewhere."
A spokesman for First Great Western, which operates services between Penzance and Paddington, said it was having to bus passengers between Exeter and Taunton.
"We have been advised that is unsafe to operate some services and we are having to run trains at reduced speeds in other locations," he said.
"We are running a replacement bus service between Exeter and Taunton, although the road conditions are not that great.
"We would advise everyone to check before they travel either on our website or with national rail inquiries."
Access to Plymouth railway station was restricted after a section of metal roof was torn loose by the strong winds.