Del Mar rejects modified rail fence plans, so NCTD could move forward with original design

Written by RT&S Staff
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Del Mar Bluffs
File Photo

By a 3-2 vote, the Del Mar City Council rejected a modified plan by the North County Transit District for a fence along the railroad right-of-way along the Del Mar bluffs.

Del Mar officials and residents do not want any fence constructed around the railroad tracks, but the NCTD owns the land and could decide to install the type of fence that was specified in the original design. That fence was a chain-linked structure that was 6 ft tall. After hearing complaints, the NCTD altered the designs to lower the fence in some areas and to make the barrier more aesthetically pleasing. The NCTD is trying to prevent trespassing on the tracks, which can be fatal. An average of 12 people are struck and killed by trains annually along the line. The NCTD is afraid faster and quieter trains will make trespassing even more dangerous.

Del Mar councilmember Terry Gaasterland said at the Feb. 28 meeting that no one has been struck by a train on the bluff because of the elevation above the tracks, and added most of the train accidents have been farther north.

In late 2020, the NCTD petitioned the Surface Transportation Board to prohibit the city of Del Mar and the California Coastal Commission from demanding any changes to the fence. Since then, the Coastal Commission and the Surfrider Foundation have submitted their own petitions to the STB.

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