THE agency managing Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner passenger service between San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles and San Diego has announced that through services will resume from April 17, after the section of route at San Clemente was closed for an extended period due to coastal erosion concerns.

In October 2022 Amtrak and commuter operator Metrolink suspended operations between Irvine and Oceanside, just north of San Diego, due to safety concerns over erosion of shoreline below the railway at San Clemente following heavy rains from Tropical Storm Kay, along with movement of the ground on slopes above the track.

The Los Angeles - San Diego - San Luis Obispo (Lossan) Rail Corridor Agency managing the Surfliner said the suspension of services had been on the advice of geologists, geotechnical engineers and surveyors who had noted a 712 mm shift in the railway’s alignment between September 2021 and September 2022 following repeated storms. Infrastructure owner Orange County Transportation Authority (Octa) said it would conduct emergency maintenance to stabilise the formation.

A Metrolink commuter train passing along the coastal stretch of line at San Clemente. Photo credit: Andrewaronoshn/Wikipedia Commons

Beginning in November 2022, Octa began working with geotechnical contractor Condon-Johnson & Associates on cliff stabilisation works. However, in January Octa announced this work had been delayed by the contractors having to ensure that the installation of ground anchors would not damage the foundations of nearby buildings on the clifftop above the line.

Octa says those works are now complete and the full train service between San Luis Obispo and San Diego via Los Angeles can resume without passengers having to transfer to buses between Irvine and Oceanside. From April 17 the full service of 10 Pacific Surfliner round trips per day will resume, including at weekends.