A STRETCH of railway line through Tiverton is set for improvements as part of a project to sort out problem hotspots across the country.

Network Rail are looking at 40 sites in the South-West affected by the heavy rainfall in the past two months, which they say cost between £10m to £20m of emergency unbudgeted funding to put right.

A spokesman said: “Whilst some schemes require improvements to drainage provision, sites such as the Cowley Bridge Junction will require a holistic view in conjunction with the Environment Agency to make sure we implement a fit-for-purpose solution.

“We are looking to raise the signalling equipment off the ground throughout to add robustness in the short term. We have also added boulders on the embankment to add some protection from washouts.

“Recent weather events related to extremely severe flooding in the South West are not specifically highlighted so we are looking at a separate exercise to review our response to the flooding.

“There are two dimensions to this. Firstly, in terms of asset resilience, we are reviewing all the areas we had problems with in November and December to see what we can do to restore services quicker in reaction to flooding.”

As part of wider meetings, Network Rail are holding a Devon stakeholder review in February to look at how to combat flooding on the tracks.

Network Rail’s strategic business plan for Wessex, which covers the route through Tiverton, has been submitted to the Office of Rail Regulation.

In April 2004, South West Trains ran 43,600 trains over four weeks but in April 2012, the total number of trains had risen to 45,646 trains all of Network Rail say has put added pressure on the infrastructure.

The spokesman added: “To address this continuing increase in train movements, £1.025billion will be spent on the infrastructure across the south and south west of England between 2014 and 2019 to make it more reliable and able to cope with the continued increase in use.”