Octa's transportation blog

Rail Service Ready to Roll Again Following OCTA’s Emergency Stabilization

All regular Metrolink and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service is scheduled to resume beginning Monday, April 17, after OCTA’s emergency construction work stopped slope movement and stabilized the tracks in south San Clemente.

Metrolink and Pacific Surfliner passengers are asked to check metrolinktrains.com and pacificsurfliner.com/alerts for the latest updates on rail service and schedules.

“This emergency work has posed an unprecedented challenge, especially with the heavy rainfall this season, and we’re very pleased to announce that passenger service can safely resume on this key stretch of Southern California rail,” said OCTA Chairman Gene Hernandez, also the mayor of Yorba Linda. “We greatly appreciate the public’s patience and their understanding that ensuring passenger safety is always the first priority.”

Metrolink plans to resume all regular passenger rail service along its Orange County and Inland Empire-Orange County lines through San Clemente, once again serving Oceanside seven days a week. 

The LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency, which manages the popular Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service, has operated weekend service through the work area since the first row of stabilizing ground anchors were installed in early February. Full service, every day of the week, is set to resume on Monday from San Diego to Orange County and destinations further north. A bus connection between Oceanside and Irvine will no longer be required.

Site conditions continue to be monitored with passenger safety the top priority.

Recurring heavy rains since the project began in October led to delays in the construction schedule. The construction work is being completed on a privately owned slope along 700 feet of rail between the ocean and homes above in the Cyprus Shore Homeowners Association, south of the San Clemente Pier.  

The work has involved drilling large steel 130-foot-long ground anchors into the bedrock of the slope adjacent to the railroad track to prevent it from pushing the track further toward the ocean. The track had moved as much as 28 inches between September 2021 and September 2022 because of storm surge and sand erosion on the coastal side and the gradually sliding hillside on the other. 

Passenger rail service, including Amtrak and Metrolink, was stopped in late September out of an abundance of caution and to allow for the emergency repairs. 

OCTA and its contractors will continue to work in the project area to cover the retaining wall and replant native vegetation. OCTA is working with necessary state and federal agencies to mitigate impacts from the emergency project.

OCTA is the owner of 40 miles of track stretching through Orange County, including the 7 miles along the coast through Dana Point and San Clemente. To date, OCTA has invested more than $2 billion in the rail corridor, including $1.3 billion in capital improvements.

For project updates, visit here