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Amtrak suspends part of Southern California route due to coastal erosion

Service has stopped its Surfliner route between Oceanside and Irvine for emergency track repairs.

SAN DIEGO — Amtrak suspended part of its Southern California route due to emergency repairs needed to fix unstable, shifting ground.

The Pacific Surfliner isn't operating between Oceanside and Irvine. Amtrak made the announcement Friday. The closure will stay in effect until further notice.

"It's a wonderful service when it works but I think we need to invest to ensure that 's up to speed," said Julie Hotz, who was traveling for work.

She was hoping to take the train down from Los Angeles but soon learned service for a key portion of her trip was cancelled.

"I had to wait at Union State for six hours to get on a train to a bus because there's no direct service down to San Diego," she said. 

Buses are being used to transport some customers as critical repairs are made. Amtrak says the suspension was brought on by safety concerns in San Clemente.

The ground underneath a section of the seaside tracks has shifted.

"Now the rocks up there are younger than any others we have in San Diego and they are weak. They're land slide problems for homeowners in the area," said Dr. Pat Abbott, Professor Emeritus for SDSU.

 Dr. Abbott is an expert in geology. He says coastal erosion is likely causing the cliffs under the tracks to become unstable.

"This is a long-term problem just like we have in Del Mar. You can keep doing various fixes, build stabilizations but in the end mother nature will win," he said.

Amtrak said it's working to open the tracks as quickly as possible and will post any updates on its website or social media.

WATCH RELATED: One Amtrak engineer’s consistent horn causing headache in Encinitas (Feb. 2022).

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