Watch CBS News

Amtrak, Metrolink rail tracks halt operations through Orange County until further notice for emergency work

Amtrak, Metrolink shut down service through Orange County
Amtrak, Metrolink shut down service through Orange County 03:11

Commuters who rely on the LOSSAN rail corridor heading through San Clemente will be subjected to rail closures for the foreseeable future, after considerable erosion in the area has called for emergency work to re-stabilize the tracks. 

On Monday, the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors held a special meeting where they unanimously declared "an emergency need for railroad track stabilization in southern San Clemente."

The California Transportation Commission in turn allocated $6 million from the State Transportation Improvement Program to fund the track's stabilization. 

"Our first priority, of course, is the safety and well-being of all rail passengers and crew members who travel through this area," said OCTA Chairman Mark A. Murphy, also Mayor of Orange. "This quick action by our Board and the state will allow us to move forward with a more effective interim solution to prevent the tracks from moving and to safely restore rail service through this vital corridor."

They estimate that the stabilization efforts could take anywhere from 30 to 45 days to complete.

"Safety concerns to the right-of-way in San Clemente has made it necessary to suspend train service through the area," said Pacific Surfliner officials via Twitter on Friday. 

The cause of those safety concerns comes at the tail end of a series of heavy storms that hit the area, causing high tides and noted erosion in the area as portions of the coast crumbled into the ocean, giving way to the high-powered surf. 

Similar to an extended closure that lasted for nearly a month in 2021, officials are unsure exactly how long the closure will remain in place. 

"Waves and various tides have adjusted it," said a Metrolink spokeperson. "Similar to a year ago when we had heavy rains in September and the first part of October."

In the meantime, travelers can expect no service to the San Juan Capistrano or San Clemente Pier stops. Instead, they'll be provided bus services around the affected area. 

The closures, will affect both Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink rails, as the emergency work calls for a suspension to the Orange County Line and Inland Empire-Orange County Line services.

Amtrak rails will not travel any further south than Irvine, while Metrolink passengers can get as far south as Mission Viejo.

"We understand that the closures will result in disruptions and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience it causes our riders," Amtrak said. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.