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The re-opening of the South West rail line at Dawlish in good time for Easter has been a triumph of engineering and determination. Three hundred workers deployed 6000 tonnes of concrete, 150 tonnes of steel and over 13 miles of cable in a race to reconnect the South West with the rest of the UK.
Cynics may say that there was a replacement bus service laid on and that travellers could still drive. But the fact that the region’s economy was estimated to be poorer to the tune of £20m per day whilst the line was out of action shows the value of railways in national transport infrastructure plans.
Praising the workers, Mark Carne, Chief Executive of National Rail, said “they have overcome every obstacle thrown at them, winning many battles along the way to restore this critical piece of the network” whilst David Cameron hailed the line’s reopening as “a great day.”
The successful completion of this project perfectly demonstrates the way in which planning, determination and teamwork can lead to triumph. In a country which is more used to train services failing due to “leaves on the line,” or to roads being closed for weeks whilst small potholes are repaired this project has shown that where there is a will on the part of leaders to drive projects forward; ways can be found.