CALLS have been made to protect the railway at Leigh from the sea after recent storms caused enormous damage in Devon Peter Wexham, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh ward, fears the c2c-operated railway and the cinder path between Leigh and Chalkwell could suffer the same fate as the line at Dawlish in Devon, which was wiped out by a recent storm surge.

The Dawlish line is the main railway to the South West and Network Rail fears it will take at least six weeks to repair.

Network Rail owns the land in Leigh Mr Wexham says is being eroded.

He said: “It is time now Network Rail started meaningful talks with the Government and the Environment Agency about raising and protecting the railway and Cinder path between Leigh and Chalkwell.”

He warned the mud was being eroded while tides were getting higher and said Network Rail, needed to invest more in the line.

Mr Wexham said: “They have to protect the railway and need to see it as their problem. They own the land it is down to them.

“The hurricane of 1987 happened at low tide. We’ve seen the problems high tides can cause our sea walls at Shoebury and what happened at Dawlish is possible here in Leigh.

“Many thousands depend on the railway for work and they’d all have to go on the Liverpool Street line, if it did go. The power of the tide should not be underestimated in the right weather conditions.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We appreciate the concern raised by the councillor.

However, we can reassure him and the local community there are no problems with the existing infrastructure and we continue to monitor situation.

“In addition, there are Network Rail engineers looking after the route from ground level as well as flying the Network Rail helicopter overhead.