Amtrak halts train service south of Irvine through Sunday amid ‘slight movement’ in tracks

Local news

The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner will not operate south of Irvine through Sunday as crews work to shore up unstable ground along cliffside railroad tracks.

This Aug. 19. 2021, image shows large swell and high tide hitting against train tracks in San Clemente. (Gavin Stay)
This Aug. 19. 2021, image shows waves hitting against train tracks in San Clemente. (Gavin Stay)

Then beginning Monday, no Pacific Surfliner trains will operate between the Irvine and Oceanside stations. Through Oct. 3, Amtrak travelers will have to take bus connections between the two stations, and then hop back on a train between Oceanside and San Diego.

“We will continue to look for ways to minimize the impact of these closures as this critical work continues,” Amtrak says on its website.

The issue also affects Metrolink’s service.

The Orange County and Inland Empire-Orange County line service will not operate between the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo and Oceanside stations through Oct. 3.

Metrolink service is expected to resume Oct. 4, unless work is completed earlier.

There won’t be alternate bus transportation available to or from the San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente or Oceanside stations. 

“Due to a combination of the earth, the sea and the sand, there’s been a very slight movement in the tracks, and that’s the part that needs to be stabilized and shored up,” Metrolink spokesperson Paul Gonzales told KTLA Thursday.

The work process involves material called riprap — large boulders commonly seen in breakwater.

“We’re going to place those adjacent with the tracks, between the tracks and the sea to stabilize that track bed,” Gonzales said. “So that’s the work that’ll be ongoing for the next two weeks, or maybe a little bit less or a little bit more.”

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