Dawlish rail line reopens today - thanks to Sheffield steel

Stainless UK Grip Bar in the new sea wall at Dawlish
Stainless UK Grip Bar in the new sea wall at Dawlish
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It is one of the few routes into Cornwall, worth millions to its economy and more than 300 engineers have been working round the clock to fix it in time for the Easter holidays.

Today the Great Western Main Line through Dawlish will reopen just two months after the devastating storms and almost two weeks earlier than predicted.

A huge length of railway track is exposed and left hanging after the sea wall collapsed in Dawlish, where high tides and strong winds have created havoc in the Devonshire town disrupting road and rail networks and damaging property. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 5, 2014. See PA story WEATHER Flood. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

A huge length of railway track is exposed and left hanging after the sea wall collapsed in Dawlish, where high tides and strong winds have created havoc in the Devonshire town disrupting road and rail networks and damaging property. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 5, 2014. See PA story WEATHER Flood. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

A Sheffield company played a crucial part in the £15m repair job.

Huge waves on February 5 created a 300ft breach in the sea wall. On February 7 Sheffield company Stainless UK received an order from Can Geotechnical, one of the contractors assembled to carry out the repairs, for the supply of marine grade 316 stainless steel Grip Bar anchors to tie together 5,000 tonnes of new concrete wall that had to be constructed.

The company quickly organised a weekend shift at the factory on Newhall Road, Attercliffe, and began preparing the 18ft threaded rods. The first delivery was made on Tuesday, February 11.

In total the company supplied more than 160 bars, and end plates and fixings, to the Devon site. Some 200m of new track has also been installed.

Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail’s Western route managing director, said: “We were determined to complete this work in time for the school holidays to support the vital tourism trade in Dawlish, South Devon and across the south west of England. An unfortunate event like the one experienced at Dawlish shows how important the railway is to the region’s people and its economy and I hope our efforts to restore here show how seriously we treat that responsibility.

“Even when Dawlish is complete, a great deal of work remains elsewhere. First we will bring the railway back to full capacity, then we will create solutions that will protect this vital national asset for the future. We are tackling that process head-on.”