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Home Travel Amtrak Surfliner to resume service through San Clemente – Orange County Register

Amtrak Surfliner to resume service through San Clemente – Orange County Register

by Staff

Tarps cover the site of a landslide in San Clemente, CA, on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. A 160-foot long wall will be built along the section where a landslide threatens the rail tracks. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner will resume limited passenger rail service through San Clemente starting Wednesday, March 6.

Emergency repairs continue to install a 160-foot long, 10- to 15-foot tall catchment wall at the base of a landslide that occurred in January, destroying a popular coastal pedestrian bridge and threatening the rail tracks. Passenger service has been halted through town since then.

Already, 33 steel beams for the foundation of the wall were in place as of Monday, March 4, and Amtrak conducted its own risk analysis of resuming some trains, according to an announcement by involved agencies.

“OCTA and Metrolink emergency crews worked on full steam to build the catchment wall, resulting in construction progressing ahead of schedule. Amtrak’s limited passenger rail service resuming (Wednesday) marks a step in the right direction for the passengers, local businesses, and stakeholders who rely on the rail corridor,” County Supervisor Katrina Foley, who sits on the Orange County Transportation Authority board, said in a statement. “We remain committed to working safely and efficiently to fully resume rail service in the near future.”

OCTA,  Metrolink and the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Corridor, or LOSSAN, agreed the limited service could safely resume through San Clemente and down to San Diego, the agencies said in a joint announcement.

Two Pacific Surfliner trains will pass through San Clemente between 7 and 8 a.m., with two more between 6 and  7 p.m.

Metrolink, however, will not resume service yet. It will continue to operate weekday service only as far south as the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station, while weekend Orange County Line and Inland Empire-Orange County Line trains will only operate as far south as San Juan Capistrano.

Freight trains resumed using the tracks last week after a short stop due to continued slope movement.

The retaining wall is expected to be finished by the end of the month.

“Even with additional rain expected later this week, the team plans to continue to work on drainage, excavation and installing the wooden panels between the steel beams that will create the catchment wall,” the agencies’ announcement said. “Once the wall construction is complete, full passenger service can safely resume.”

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