Coaster train
A Coaster train heads north past the Del Mar Fairgrounds on the wooden trestle. Courtesy NCTD

SANDAG and the North County Transit District announced Monday the award of a $100 million state grant to replace the aging San Dieguito Bridge and build a new station at the Del Mar Fairgrounds,

Replacing the 107-year-old, single-track wooden trestle with two modern concrete structures is intended to improve safety and efficiency, while the new platform would be open during special events such as races, concerts and the county fair.

The grant from the California Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program is expected to be matched by federal funds to cover the total project cost of $230 million.

SANDAG has already finished environmental clearance and design work for the project. Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2028.

“This is exciting news. This funding will help safeguard rail travel through North County,” said state Sen. Catherine Blakespear. “By also extending rail to the Del Mar Fairgrounds with the construction of station platforms, the project funded by this award will improve regional transportation and options for commuters.” 

The Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo rail corridor is the second busiest in the nation after the Washington to Boston corridor. It is used by Amtrak, commuter rail and freight trains.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.