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Transportation and Mobility

Amtrak Surfliner Resumes Service On Troubled San Clemente Tracks

Looking down a train track with waves crashing into boulders on the right hand side, a slope with palm trees and houses on top on the left side, and an excavator about to pick up a boulder next to the tracks in the distance.
Piling riprap along the tracks south of San Clemente State Beach is an ongoing effort to keep the waves at bay since the beach here has eroded almost entirely in recent years.
(Jill Replogle
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Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner will resume service this weekend along the tracks in San Clemente that were shut down in September out of safety concerns.

Good to know if you’re traveling: Weekday Surfliner passengers will still have to take a shuttle bus between Irvine and Oceanside. Metrolink will continue to operate weekend passenger rail service but only as far south as the San Clemente Pier Station. Regular service to and from Oceanside won't resume until repairs are finished, which is expected by the end of March.

The backstory: Last fall, authorities shut down passenger service on the rail line, used by Amtrak, Metrolink and freight companies, because a section of tracks near Cottons Point in San Clemente was shifting dangerously toward the ocean.

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Workers drilled long stakes into the bedrock to shore up the tracks, an effort the Orange County Transportation Authority says was successful.

Long-term solution still TBD: Local leaders admit that the estimated $12 million project consisting of drilling anchors into the bedrock and piling riprap along the tracks are short-term solutions to continual erosion. Potential longer-term fixes include replenishing the sand on local beaches to buffer the tracks and even moving the tracks away from the coast.

Go deeper: A Reckoning With Mother Nature In South OC As Coastal Train Travel Is Suspended

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