RAIL passengers travelling through Dorset and Devon have been reminded to check their journeys before travelling from this weekend as Network Rail starts a scheme to protect a flood-prone stretch of railway.

Two 40m long underground structures, each made up of fourteen individual 40-tonne culvert sections, will be installed on sites at Axe Farm and Broom Lane in the Axe Valley, reducing the likelihood of flooding from a one in five year risk to a one in twenty year risk.

In order to complete this work, the line will be closed between Crewkerne and Exeter from Saturday until Sunday September 23 and a bus replacement service will be in operation.

This nine-day programme of work will see the track removed and embankments excavated at both sites, with around 9,000 tonnes of earth set to be removed before the flood defences are installed.

More than 100 members of Network Rail’s ‘team orange’ will deliver the project, which began in May and is set for completion in December this year.

Rebecca Wells, senior project manager for Network Rail, said: “This £9.5 million investment will significantly reduce the risk of the line flooding in the area and provide a better, more reliable railway for passengers and the local community for many years to come.”