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Passengers taking rail disruption in stride as landslide closes tracks in San Clemente

Trains heading in and out of San Diego are once again disrupted by a landslide in San Clemente. KPBS North County reporter Alexander Nguyen talks to some riders affected by the latest track closure.

Trains heading in and out of San Diego are once again disrupted by a landslide in San Clemente.

This is the third time in nine months that a landslide has disrupted train service between San Diego and Orange County and the second time in the same spot at Casa Romantica in the last two months.

Officials said a conductor spotted soil and rocks on the tracks Monday and stopped short of the landslide.


"We unfortunately have been forced to halt rail service again," the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) said in a statement. "We realize this is especially difficult during the busy summer travel season."

Some riders were frustrated by the disruption, but most were taking it in stride, like Linda Salvadi, who was in town to celebrate her brother’s and sister’s birthdays. She said Amtrak was very helpful.

It wasn't the first time she was caught with rail service disruptions, so she was familiar with the process.

"The landslide happened ... and I thought, 'Oh, well. I can come to Oceanside,' and I've done this before where they have a problem with the tracks,” Salvadi said.

Amtrak is providing bus bridges between Oceanside and Irvine to get passengers to their final destinations. For Metrolink riders, there won't be any services to San Diego.


The final stop is the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station.

OCTA said it is working with all stakeholders to get service restored as quickly and safely as possible.

At least one traveler did not mind the disruption. Paul Lineham was visiting from Australia and had been traveling around the United States on Amtrak. He said the bus bridge was rather comfortable.

“I managed to see a lot more than I would have, perhaps, if I'd been in a car,” he said.

Beverly Coles, who lives in La Jolla, was worried about making it to her grandson's high school graduation in Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara, but understood that it wasn't Amtrak's fault.

"There was a landslide. So that's nature. What can we do?" she said. "We'll just have to go with the flow and see what our options are to go up north."

It was unclear when the tracks will reopen.

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