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Main line open but floods hit other rail services in Devon and Cornwall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 28, 2012

Inflatable dams on the railway line at Cowley Bridge, near Exeter, which helped prevent further flood damage after the Exe burst its banks – yesterday the line reopened ahead of schedule

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Major disruption on the region's fragile transport network is set to continue into the New Year.

Rail passengers were told not to expect key services to operate again until January with buses replacing trains on several routes due to the wet weather.

But the South West's main rail line from Exeter to Tiverton reopened yesterday after completion of works – nearly 17 hours ahead of schedule. Speed restrictions of 40mph were imposed on the line.

No services are running on the lines from Exeter to Exmouth and Barnstaple, and Liskeard to Looe.

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There were a total of 25 washout sites on the Barnstaple line. Rail industry experts said they had never known it suffer so badly in the past 25 years.

Limited buses services have replaced the trains on the Devon and Cornwall routes, but some road services are also affected by flooding.

Train operators said both the up and down lines from Exeter to Tiverton were now available for use.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "We have learned some lessons from the flooding in November and done some things differently.

"There's nothing that we could do to prevent the River Exe bursting its banks and causing the track damage – but we have done some things proactively to minimise damage to the signalling."

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