Rain, Landslides Disrupt Amtrak Service in SoCal

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

Rain and landslides along the California coast have disrupted Amtrak service on its Pacific Surfliner route. 

On Monday, a historic amount of rain fell in and around Los Angeles, with some parts of the state forecast to get nearly 14 inches; a single-day figure that matches the city’s average annual rainfall. As a result, flooding and mudslides were disrupting life up and down the coast. On Monday, Amtrak was warning passengers of possible service disruptions. Some trains were being canceled entirely while others were originating and terminating at alternative stations. For example, Train 777, which normally runs to San Luis Obispo, instead terminated at Goleta (near Santa Barbara). 

The service disruptions were only compounding issues the railroad was having south of Los Angeles, thanks to a landslide at San Clemente last month. The coastal stretch of track has long challenged railroaders. In late January, a landslide impacted a walking trail and the right-of-way. Since then, Amtrak has been busing passengers aboard the Pacific Surfliner between San Juan Capistrano and Oceanside. Last week, officials said they planned to build a retaining wall to keep the slide from impacting the rails again. While passenger service along that stretch of track has been suspended, BNSF Railway is still running some freight service. It was unclear how long it would take to build the new wall. 

This article was posted on: February 5, 2024