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San Clemente Rail Closure Daily Update: Thursday, Feb. 8

Plastic tarps were removed from privately owned hillsides above rail line showing saturation and cracks; Metrolink continues to design barrier wall and issues request for proposal

ORANGE – On Thursday, the OCTA and Metrolink project team removed most of the plastic tarps covering the emergency work area, which were damaged by several days of heavy rain and wind. Some tarp coverage remained in areas still too muddy for crews to safely access.

Removing the tarps allowed the team to get a better look at the condition of the slope next to the track. The slope is saturated and shows some cracking.

Soil and debris from the privately owned slope continued to inch toward the track on Thursday, at a slower pace than the last two days. The track itself remains stable. Because of that, BNSF is scheduled to again move freight trains overnight through the area at no more than 10 mph.

The OCTA and Metrolink team will continue assessing movement of the slope and inspecting the track, as well as deciding how to prepare for additional expected rain.

Metrolink is continuing design efforts and has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the construction of a barrier wall to protect the track, with the goal of determining when at least limited passenger service can safely resume through San Clemente.

For the latest updates and background, visit

For Updates on Rail Service: Passengers are asked to check and for real-time updates.

Background: The rail line was closed through San Clemente the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 24, when a landslide on private property above the city-owned Mariposa Trail Pedestrian Bridge caused major damage to the bridge and scattered debris onto the track.

OCTA, which owns the track, worked with partners at Metrolink and contractors to quickly mobilize emergency crews, who used heavy machinery on the rails to remove debris and haul away two large spans of the bridge, each weighing 24,000 pounds. The OCTA and Metrolink team continues to work to resume safe passenger rail service as soon as possible.

Over the past three years, San Clemente’s eroding bluffs – on both city and private property – have repeatedly forced the closure of the rail line which has operated largely uninterrupted for more than 125 years.

san clemente bluffs

debris near tracks
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