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On the first anniversary of damage to 80 metres of the sea wall at Dawlish and the destruction of part of the railway, it has been reported that the regional economy suffered a £1.2 billion hit.

The assessment, from the non-profit Devon Maritime Forum, said the 60-day closure of the line, which severed the only rail link to Plymouth and Cornwall, discovered that many firms in the city were losing between £100 and £1,000 a day as a result of the loss of train services.

The Dawlish line was reopened in early April at a cost of £35 million. Despite this, commuters and tourists have been warned that Cornwall remains vulnerable to future storms and the track’s geographical location means it could be cut off again

Whilst little can be done to prevent waves hitting passing trains during bad weather, local councillors are calling for more to be done to reinforce the track to withstand winter weather.

“We have been working closely with a research team at Brunel University to develop innovative products to solve problems exactly like those seen in Dawlish,” said Epicuro founder Professor Denis Chamberlain.

“We have patented a method of Reinforced Stabilised Soil Construction (RSSC) which acts very similar to conventional reinforced concrete and can be used for retaining walls, embankments and flood defences.”

In addition to being greener, RSSC has a significant advantage over concrete because there is virtually no curing period; following the formation of the structural element, it is finished and ready to use.

“In the case of reinforced concrete, a chemical bond is formed between its steel reinforcing bars and the surrounding cement paste. This allows reinforcing bars to carry their full load in tension, without pulling out of the surrounding concrete. Until now, it has not been possible to achieve any such composite action in reinforced soil. Reinforcing bars are easily pulled out of soil, severely limiting its load carrying capacity,” said Professor Chamberlain.



“However, with our new patented technique, we are able to achieve a very strong composite action between soil and reinforcing bars, anchoring the bars into the surrounding soil. This effect is distributed along each reinforcing member, making it possible for Reinforced Stabilised Soil Construction to resist bending and direct tension. This opens up the way to a wide range of applications, such as strengthening railway embankments."

“We believe that through our investment in the research at Brunel University, we can help railways, and their passengers, become one of the biggest beneficiaries of these remarkable sustainable products.”

25 February 2015