Officials attempting to step up efforts to protect train line while California’s Del Mar bluffs continue to crumble

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
SANDAG rail projects
The North County Transit District wants to build a fence where trespassing is a problem along the railroad right-of-way.

You never know which areas under the earth’s crust are without any filling. Officials in southern California have received a warning over the last few months that the ground beneath a key train line that runs along the Del Mar bluffs, the last one coming in November when a section of the bluffs collapsed just feet from the track.

A multi-agency effort has been launched, called the LOSSAN San Diego Regional Rail Corridor Working Group, to come up with answers … which will cost money. Some are proposing to move the line inland via a new tunnel. The project will cost around $4 billion, and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata says the project could be mobilized in three years. That schedule, however, would depend on a well-coordinated effort from local, state and federal officials.

SANDAG and the North County Transit District have teamed up for $10 million to repair stormwater drainage structures, replace sections of sea wall and put up additional columns to retain the earth. However, another $100 million is need for stabilization efforts over the next four years to keep the line safe.

SANDAG has applied for a $12 million grant to the Federal Railroad Administration, and if awarded the state of California will match the funding level. The agency also will be continuing soldier pile installation in February. New piles will be installed at 9th and 10th streets and near the south end of Stratford Court. Sea walls also will be strengthened at 13th, 12th and Seventh streets. Drainage structures also will be upgraded.

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