06/02/2014 06:08 GMT | Updated 06/02/2014 11:59 GMT

Dawlish Railway Line Destroyed By Violent Storm And Huge Waves (PICTURES, VIDEO)

Parts of the South West have effectively been "cut off" after a Devon rail line collapsed into the sea.

Ministers are looking at alternatives to the lifeline stretch of rail in Dawlish, which has been destroyed by the storms.

The government is now under pressure to look again at a £100m high-speed line to improve train times, the Western Morning News reported.


Photo gallery Dawlish Storm Damage See Gallery

Pete Fox from the Environment Agency said the tidal movements were making the recovery operation more difficult.

He told BBC Breakfast: "It really hampers efforts to repair.

"Our teams have been out in places like Helston, and further down the coast in Cornwall, overnight, doing work to try and repair and keep the water flowing, because we are facing this conveyor belt of storms coming to the south, south west of England."

It comes as more appalling weather is forecast.

High winds are expected to lash the Channel tonight into tomorrow, potentially causing disruption to the popular ferry crossing route.

Upland areas including Salisbury Plain, South Downs and North Downs are set to be the worst affected by the downpours, and the Met Office has issued an amber warning in these parts urging locals to "be prepared".

A yellow warning for rain is in place across the rest of southern England and Wales meaning that people living in these areas should "be aware".

And winds of up to 40mph are set to batter the south coast, potentially bringing dangerously high waves and wreaking fresh damage to these storm-hit areas.