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Jul 21, 2023 Rail

Safeguarding Railway Infrastructure


The Parsons Tunnel project in Dawlish, undertaken by Morgan Sindall, is a significant initiative aimed at constructing a protective canopy that connects two tunnels. With an estimated value of £35 million, the project's primary objective is to ensure the safety and preservation of trains and the railway track by mitigating the risk of damage caused by falling rocks. Previous incidents have highlighted the criticality of this endeavour, as the closure of the Devon-Cornwall route results in substantial financial implications.

Project Overview 

Client Background 

Morgan Sindall, a renowned construction company, took on the responsibility of executing the Parsons Tunnel project. Known for their expertise in delivering complex infrastructure projects, the client recognized the significance of fortifying the railway infrastructure in Dawlish to ensure uninterrupted train services.

Project Scope and Objectives 

The project aims to construct a protective canopy that spans across the two tunnels, providing an effective barrier against falling rocks. By implementing this measure, the project seeks to minimize the risk of potential rockfall incidents and safeguard the trains and railway track, consequently improving the safety and reliability of the rail network in Dawlish.

Samuel Knight's Contribution

Samuel Knight's Role Samuel Knight, a trusted provider of railway personnel and safety critical staff, played a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth progress and safety of the Parsons Tunnel project. Their involvement extended beyond the provision of critical personnel, as they also supplied skilled labor gangs and proficient plant operators, contributing to the overall efficiency and success of the project.

Expertise and Support Drawing upon their experience and knowledge in the rail industry, Samuel Knight provided essential safety critical staff and supervision throughout the project's duration. Their expertise in managing safety-critical aspects, such as risk assessment and compliance, ensured that all operations adhered to the highest safety standards, mitigating potential hazards and safeguarding personnel and assets.

Project Timeline and Milestones 

The Parsons Tunnel project commenced in 2021 and is scheduled for completion in 2023. As the project nears its conclusion, it represents a significant milestone in the enhancement of the railway infrastructure in Dawlish. The successful implementation of the protective canopy will address the vulnerabilities associated with rockfall incidents, thereby improving the resilience and reliability of the railway network in the region.


The Parsons Tunnel project in Dawlish, commissioned by Morgan Sindall with a budget of £35 million, serves as a compelling case study in safeguarding railway infrastructure. Through the construction of a protective canopy, the project aims to mitigate the risk of rockfall incidents, ensuring the safety and reliability of train services. Samuel Knight's vital contribution, providing safety critical staff, supervision, and skilled labor gangs, has been instrumental in ensuring the smooth progress and adherence to safety standards. As the project nears completion, it represents a significant milestone in the enhancement of the railway infrastructure in Dawlish, solidifying the region's transportation network for years to come.

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