OCTA Working With Metrolink After San Clemente Landslide

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
image description
Metrolink San Clemente

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – OCTA and Metrolink are working to clear debris from a rail right-of-way after another landslide in San Clemente.

RT&S recently reported on the landslide in San Clemente forcing passenger rail service to be suspended. Now, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), which owns the rail line, is working with Metrolink to clear the area and restore rail service as quickly as possible. The report from OCTA states that no timeline has been set on when service will resume.

OCTA Chair Tam T. Nguyen said: “We clearly understand how important this rail line is for the people who rely on it, and we are committed to working with our partners, both to get it up and safely running again and to protect this rail corridor for years to come. . . Throughout California, we continue to see natural threats to our transportation system and our challenge as leaders is to come together and focus on lasting solutions for future generations.”

Over the last three years, this marks the fifth occurrence of rail service suspension on the line. Two weeks ago, the City of San Clemente was forced to close the Mariposa Point pedestrian bridge because of the same reason. OCTA has stated that working to remove the debris from the rail right-of-way is the first step in ensuring it can reopen service in the area. 

With the erosion and subsequent effects on the rail infrastructure, OCTA “has laid out a phased approach to continue operating service with minimal interruptions.” These two initiatives include two studies. The first is the Orange County Coastal Rail Resiliency Study and will work to evaluate strategies to ensure uninterrupted rail operations. It will include a detailed analysis of 7 miles of track between Dana Point and San Clemente. OCTA reports the objective of this study is to “ensure uninterrupted rail operations for the next 30 years.” Additionally, there will be a series of listening sessions over the next few months to listen to the input of stakeholders and the public.

The second study will look at a potential rail relocation between San Juan Capistrano and San Onofre State Beach that would span 11 miles. The rail in this study area is roughly 200 feet or less from the Orange County coastline and is “vulnerable to catastrophic failure due to changing environmental conditions and coastal erosion, rendering it inoperable for extended periods.” OCTA has started a dialogue with the state and requested help with finding necessary funding. 

Currently, OCTA is working with Metrolink to respond to the “city’s bluff failures and addressing them on an emergency basis to limit rail service disruptions.” As of reporting, service south of the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo station has been suspended, and Metrolink has advised its customers to make alternative arrangements until such time as service can be restored. 

Tags: , , , , ,