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Emergency repairs approved for railroad tracks between Orange and San Diego counties

Train service between San Diego and Orange counties are expected to be suspended until November, after a San Clemente cliffside showed signs of movement. The train tracks sit atop that cliffside.

The California Transportation Commission approved an estimated $12 million for emergency repair work during a meeting on Monday.

Darrell Johnson, the CEO of the Orange County Transportation Authority, said they are dealing with "a set of issues that really have accelerated over the last month as it relates to the storm surge."


He said suspending service on the busy corridor is an emergency. “It is the second busiest passenger rail corridor in the country... There's more than 70 freight trains per day and some areas more than 150 passenger trains in the area," he said. "What is less well known is that this is also a designated national defense rail corridor.”

Anchors will be placed into bedrock to help stabilize the ground movement in San Clemente.

Train service is expected to reopen in November with construction continuing until next year, but the time frames are subject to change.

In the meantime, alternate services are being provided to travelers like Jeanette Deconde, who often takes the train to visit family in San Diego. On Tuesday, she was heading home to Santa Barbara, and only learned service was suspended when she got to the Solana Beach train station..

"I do text alerts, I do it all online and nobody alerted me," she said. "I should’ve gotten a 6:40 a.m. train but it never showed up."


A staff member directed Deconde to the connecting bus being provided to travelers.

"It’ll take you to Oceanside and then you can catch a bus in four hours to go to Irvine where you can then take another train… so I'm not happy," she said.

Deconde says she’s glad the tracks are getting repaired, but her trip got delayed by almost six hours.

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