Passenger rail service through San Clemente set to resume Monday after emergency repairs

San Clemente, CA - March 08: An aerial view of Amtrak Pacific Surfliner resuming service while passing through the repaired tracks and barrier wall construction at Mariposa Point in San Clemente Friday, March 8, 2024. Rail service is on a limited basis. The reopening of the line this week marked the first time in more than a month that passengers have been able to hop aboard Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner and ride through the coastal swath between Orange County and San Diego. Construction continues on the barrier wall, which will be 10 to 15 feet high and 192 feet long. A series of powerful winter storms saturated the hillside adjacent to the tracks, causing it to slide and crumble, and forcing officials to halt train service for weeks. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner resumed limited service in March after a landslide shut down tracks between San Clemente and Oceanside. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Regular passenger rail service connecting San Clemente and Oceanside will resume Monday, two months after a landslide along the scenic coastal route shut down operations.

The Orange County Transportation Authority, which owns the track through San Clemente, worked with Metrolink, which operates regional passenger rail service, to build a 200-foot-long wall at Mariposa Point to shore up the hillside. Full service will resume for Metrolink trains between San Clemente and Oceanside, and for Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner to and from San Diego after starting limited service earlier this month.

Authorities shut down the seven-mile stretch of the popular route between Orange and San Diego counties on Jan. 24 after debris from a privately owned hillside along the Mariposa Trail Bridge in San Clemente fell onto the right-of-way and railroad tracks, stranding commuters for hours. It was the fifth time in three years that train service had been interrupted by hillside erosion in the area.

A landslide in 2022 closed Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink trains for six months. After that, another landslide at Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, a historic San Clemente landmark known for its panoramic ocean views, halted service, upending passenger and freight rail service along the coast.

The California Transportation Commission allocated $7.2 million in emergency funding to support the latest repair work, which also drew federal support.

To secure the area, Metrolink undercut nearly 500 feet of ballast from below the track to remove mud and dirt along the right-of-way, and Orange County transportation workers integrated a more comprehensive drainage system with the wall, which is supported by steel beams 30 feet deep, the transportation agency reported. Workers also replaced rail ties and resurfaced the track.

Metrolink asked the public to check for the latest updates on rail service and schedules, or call or text (800) 371–5465.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.