A NEWTON-Abbot based estate agents has reported a boost in business following the re-opening of railway links to the South West.

The Dawlish train line – damaged by the fierce storms which battered Britain in February – cut off Cornwall and large parts of Devon from the rest of the UK.

A survey of 646 businesses in Devon and Cornwall discovered that 74 per cent had been hit by the effects of the storms and damage was said to have cost the local economy £20m a day.

But local businesses have been given a welcome boost ahead of the Easter tourist season after the lines were repaired quicker than forecast.

Recently-launched commercial estate agents Charles Darrow has already felt the benefits of the £35m project to repair the damaged rail lines.

And with the economy in the UK set to grow by 2.9 per cent this year – up from a January estimate of 2.4 per cent – and expected to see growth of 2.5 per cent in 2015 – the estate agents are predicting a steady rise in people interested in buying businesses in the region.

Joint director Paul Heather said: “The re-opening of the rail lines has certainly had a positive knock-on effect on business.

“We have seen an increase in people wanting to buy businesses in the South West and they have clearly been waiting for the lines to re-open.

“The storms have put the region in the spotlight and people have been impressed with the speed and efficiency in which the lines were repaired. It has put the South West on the map.

“We expect the upward trend to continue, especially following the announcement that the economy is growing quicker than the initial predictions.”

Earlier this month Prime minister David Cameron paid a visit to Dawlish and hailed the 300-strong team that worked around the clock to restore the badly damaged line.

Heather added: “That was a lovely touch and gave the South West some valuable publicity. More and more people want to invest here.”