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Another landslide in San Clemente stops train service to Oceanside

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner's website says the tracks will reopen once the debris has been cleared.

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. — Another landslide in the San Clemente area forced a renewed halt in rail service through southern Orange County effective Monday and Pacific Surfliner service is also stopped between Irvine and Oceanside. 

The tracks used by Metrolink and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains were closed Monday morning between San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano. 

Crews inspected what appeared to be another significant movement of dirt on the hillside overlooking the tracks, just below the Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens. This same slope caused a temporary disruption in service in May 2023. 

Some of the mud and rocks wound up abutting the train tracks. Amtrak Pacific Surfliner's website says the tracks will reopen once the debris has been cleared and it is determined safe to operate trains through the area.

Geologist Pat Abbott expects more problems in the future.

"This landslide is active. It's not just like you have it and seconds later it's over. They can go on for months. They can go on for years. When you look at it, you see instability. You see cracks all the way across that landslide," he said.

According to Amtrak Pacific Surfliner's website:

Effective Tuesday, June 6

  • Trains 572, 573, 586, and 587 are cancelled.
  • Trains 562, 765, 769, 770, 774, 777, 784, 785, 790 and 591 will operate with bus bridge between Irvine and Oceanside.
  • Trains 564, 580, 581, and 595 will originate/terminate in San Juan Capistrano (no alternate service provided from stations south).

The tracks had been closed for about a month starting in late April due to the unstable hillside. But the tracks reopened on May 27. Casa Romantica was also closed due to damage on its terrace caused by the landslide, but the facility partially reopened on May 25. It was unclear if the latest movement of dirt would again impact operations at the center.

Watch Related: Landslide shuts down train service between Orange County and San Diego (Apr 28, 2023)

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