San Diego, CA – January 25, 2024
In a major setback for commuters between Orange and San Diego counties, train services have come to a standstill indefinitely following a landslide that deposited debris onto the tracks in San Clemente. The incident has left passengers stranded for hours and underscores the vulnerability of the region to natural disasters.
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, representing districts including San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente, confirmed the suspension of services between the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo and Oceanside stations, commonly used by Metrolink and Amtrak passengers. The disruption has left a significant portion of the rail network inaccessible to commuters.
The incident occurred when rail engineers near San Clemente observed soil and debris falling from the hillside at approximately 4:26 p.m., prompting an immediate closure of the tracks. Metrolink spokesperson Scott Johnson informed The Times that all services south of the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo station have been suspended for an undetermined period, impacting Orange County and Inland Empire services.
Passengers in the affected area, accustomed to occasional closures due to previous landslides, found themselves stranded once again. The disruption has elicited frustration among commuters, some of whom were stuck for hours as alternative transportation solutions were not immediately available.
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley expressed concern, stating, “Less than one month into the new year, the railroad tracks in South County are already closed due to a landslide in San Clemente. Decades of climate change denial leave Orange County behind in a race between us and Mother Earth.”
Metrolink initially warned of closures between San Juan Capistrano and Oceanside around 4:45 p.m. Subsequently, at 8:15 p.m., the agency announced a complete halt of services between Laguna Niguel and Oceanside due to ongoing falling debris in San Clemente. Unfortunately, the agency also confirmed that there would be no alternative bus services provided between the closed stations.