More land slides beneath Casa Romantica, trains stopped through San Clemente again


More land is sliding under San Clemente’s Casa Romantica estate, prompting rail service through the south Orange County beach city to be stopped again.

The slide was discovered at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, June 5, when a track safety crew from Metrolink noticed debris and soil spilling down the slope and on the tracks, said Scott Johnson, a spokesman for the company that oversees the train traffic. Metrolink works closely with city officials and the Orange County Transportation Authority, which owns the tracks through Orange County.

The safety crews have been monitoring the tracks since they were first closed on April 27, when the movement of hillside below the historic landmark was noticed. The tracks were closed to all trains, then freight service was allowed to resume at night, and passenger service resumed again on May 27, just before the popular Memorial Day weekend.

As part of the precautions taken by Metrolink, rail safety inspectors have been on site to watch for any ground movement or other evidence of instability before either the freight or passengers service were allowed to transit through the area beneath eroding bluff.

“We had early morning service to and from Oceanside,” Johnson said. “They were performing the duties when they saw the debris fall.”

Metrolink will work with officials from the city and OCTA to determine the next steps, he said. In the meantime, the rail service is suspended indefinitely.

The halt through San Clemente affected some trains coming from San Diego north and from Los Angeles to the south. Metrolink is offering reimbursement on valid fares.

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