Planned weekend rail closure allows crews to perform rail line improvements, regular maintenance and emergency repairs.
Oceanside, CA – The North County Transit District (NCTD) will suspend all coastal rail line service between the Oceanside Transit Center and Santa Fe Depot during the weekends of March 13-14 and March 20-21, 2021, as part of a planned schedule of rail closures that support routine maintenance and rail infrastructure work.
Weekend closures like these, referred to as Absolute Work Windows (AWWs), occur periodically during the year on a pre-determined schedule. AWWs provide construction crews the opportunity to work safely and unimpeded on and along the rail line to perform improvements and maintenance work.
The March rail closures will also be utilized to begin emergency repairs on the Del Mar Bluffs (Bluffs) due to the recent bluff collapse. Members of the public are reminded not to trespass along the railroad right-of-way, and due to the danger of an additional bluff collapse, not to sit, stand, or walk within 50 feet of the work zone on the beach below. Being caught in a bluff collapse can cause serious injury or death.
During construction, beach access will be limited and depending on construction activity and tides, there may or may not be beach access between Del Mar and Torrey Pines State Beach. California State Parks will have monitors in place during construction to assist park visitors. Additionally, law enforcement will be present along the top of the Bluffs near 4th Street to educate the public about the inherent risks of walking along the railroad tracks and bluffs. Signage is also posted to remind the public about the dangers in this area.
Weekend COASTER service is currently suspended due to COVID-19 service reductions; however, the March weekend closures will affect Metrolink and Amtrak trains. The first service suspension will begin Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. and remain in place until Monday, March 15, 2021 at 5:00 a.m. The second service suspension will begin Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. and remain in place until Monday, March 22, 2021 at 5:00 a.m., enabling rail service to resume in time for the weekday morning commute.
Amtrak Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink will not be providing rail service to the Oceanside Transit Center for both of the scheduled weekend closures. Amtrak bus services will require an Amtrak reservation and Rail 2 Rail passes will not be honored. On Fridays, March 12 and 19, preceding the closures, southbound Amtrak train A796 will be serviced by bus from Los Angeles to San Diego, making stops at Oceanside, Solana Beach, Old Town San Diego, and Santa Fe Depot. Amtrak customers may visit PacificSurfliner.com or call 800-872-7245 for the latest information.
Replacement bus service connecting COASTER stations will not be available. Alternatives for COASTER passengers may include BREEZE Route 101 or MTS connections.
While no passenger or freight trains will operate during this weekend closure, other test trains and construction vehicles and equipment will be active along the railroad right-of-way and on the tracks throughout the weekend. Residents along the corridor should remain alert and the public is reminded to only cross the rail line at lawfully designated rail crossings.
Passengers should note that trains may be delayed up to 15 minutes on Mondays, March 15 and 22, 2021, following the AWW. Service reductions implemented as a result of COVID-19 impacts for weekday and weekend COASTER trains will remain in effect. Riders can find the most up-to-date COASTER schedule information on NCTD’s Schedule webpage.
About NCTD: The North County Transit District is a public transportation agency providing over 10 million passenger trips in Fiscal Year 2019 throughout North San Diego County and into downtown San Diego. NCTD is designated as a rail common carrier by the Surface Transportation Board based on the movement of interstate commerce over the 80+ miles of directional tracks and is designated as the Railroad of Record by the Federal Railroad Administration responsible for safety over the entire San Diego portion of the LOSSAN corridor and Escondido Subdivision. NCTD’s system includes BREEZE buses (with FLEX service), COASTER commuter trains, SPRINTER hybrid rail trains, and LIFT paratransit service. NCTD’s mission is to deliver safe, convenient, reliable, and user-friendly public transportation services. For more information visit: GoNCTD.com.