NCTD Says Coaster Trains Safe Despite Recent Del Mar Bluff Collapse

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A Coaster train heading north on the Del Mar bluffs. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The North County Transit District is reassuring Coaster riders that the tracks through Del Mar are safe despite the collapse of a section of the bluff just 65 feet from the line last month.

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Rail traffic was halted for a number of hours after the Aug. 22 collapse until inspections confirmed the nearby tracks were safe.

The agency said it conducts regular weekly inspections and maintenance to ensure that all of its tracks are safe, and has spent millions of dollars to stabilize the eroding bluffs over the past two decades.

Plans are underway for $82 million in new stabilization work beginning in 2019 and continuing over the 20-year period. The project will include fencing to keep people off the bluffs and thereby slow their erosion.

“The safety of our customers, operators, and the public is our top priority. The ongoing work to ensure these bluffs are stabilized for future years ranks very high on our state of good repair needs,” said Matthew Tucker, NCTD’s executive director. “We do not need to wait for a crisis to fund and construct improvements that will ensure the continued safe operations of this critical transportation infrastructure that is part of our state-wide and national transportation network.”

As a long-term solution, SANDAG has conducted preliminary studies of a project to put the rail lines in a tunnel through Del Mar

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