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Landslide in San Clemente halts train service between Orange and San Diego counties

Train service from Orange to San Diego County has been suspended until further notice due to a landslide along a San Clemente bridge, it was announced Wednesday.

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley announced a landside damaged the Mariposa Bridge after it caused debris and boulders to fall along the path and onto nearby train tracks. Due to the incident, crews will be working to fix the damage.

Resident Larry Chick captured video of the slide as it pushed apart section of the bridge.

“I was literally warning people, and they were just going for it anyway,” said Chick. “I was like, ‘It’s moving, right now.’”

The Mariposa Bridge in San Clemente is heavily damaged, as pictured on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2024, following a landslide.

As of Wednesday, all passenger rail service will be suspended between the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station and Oceanside for Metrolink. Amtrak announced its Pacific Surfliner service will be suspended from Irvine to Oceanside. Instead, a bus will operate between those stations.

“With less than one month into the new year, the railroad tracks in South County are already closed due to a landslide in San Clemente,” Foley said in a statement. “Decades of climate change denial leaves Orange County behind in a race between us and Mother Earth. To protect our local economy and way of life, we cannot afford for these disruptive service suspensions to continue on a yearly basis. I remain committed to working with our partners to clean up and monitor this situation, but more importantly, find solutions for rail stability.”

San Clemente's Mariposa Bridge was damaged in a January 2023 landslide.
San Clemente’s Mariposa Bridge was damaged in a January 2023 landslide.

Foley said it is unclear when crews will be done with the repairs. There is no timeline at this moment to determine when rail service will resume as normal.

The damage caused by the landslide was reported at 4:26 p.m. Wednesday. The affected area is located approximately one-half mile north of Metrolink’s San Clemente Pier Station, according to Metrolink.

San Clemente's Mariposa Bridge was damaged in a January 2023 landslide.
San Clemente’s Mariposa Bridge was damaged in a January 2023 landslide.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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