By C. Jayden Smith
Metrolink passengers may resume limited weekend access to San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente via the Orange County and Inland Empire-Orange County lines, the rail agency recently announced.
The lines began traveling to and from the San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and San Clemente Pier stations on modified schedules starting on Saturday, Oct. 29, although all service connections to the Oceanside station remain suspended.
“Metrolink service Monday through Friday remains suspended at all stations south of the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station,” the agency said in its announcement. “This is due to the higher volume of train traffic along this single-track route on weekdays, compared to weekends, making it challenging to provide service without significant delays.”
Commuter services between the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo station and the Oceanside station have been suspended since late September, when movement of the track in south San Clemente was reported following a storm surge that hit Southern California.
More than 20,000 tons of riprap have been placed along the area since September 2021 to try to halt continuous shifting of the track, which sits at the bottom of a bluff that happens to be an ancient landslide.
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) announced on Oct. 14 that it had finalized a contract to work with a geotechnical firm tasked with stabilizing the railroad track through southern San Clemente. The emergency work on the affected hillside is expected to begin soon.
The OCTA Board of Directors authorized plans to begin the $12 million stabilization project on Oct. 3.
The transportation agency has stated that it intends to complete the work in an approximately 90-day phase, and that all passenger rail services could be continued as soon as mid-December, or mid-January when construction is expected to end.
“Project engineers and geotechnical experts will continually monitor the slope next to the track during construction,” a release from OCTA read. “In partnership with all rail agencies, a decision will be made when to safely resume passenger rail service.”
Additionally, the schedules for Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Trains 770, 774 and 784 were adjusted to extend to San Juan Capistrano effective on Monday, Oct. 31.
Visit metrolinktrains.com for additional information.
C. Jayden Smith
C. Jayden Smith graduated from Dana Hills High in 2018 before pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in digital and broadcast journalism from the University of North Texas. After graduating in December 2020, he reported for the Salina Journal in Salina, Kansas. Jayden loves college football and bothering his black lab named Shadow.