Plans to improve the LOSSAN coastal rail corridor are chugging along. Representatives from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and state + local officials received a $300 million grant from California’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program.
Now, the organization will move full steam ahead into the LOSSAN Rail Realignment Project that will permanently move the tracks away from bluffs and invest in the future of the rail system + local environment.
Why is this necessary?
The LOSSAN Rail Corridor runs dangerously close to the Del Mar Bluffs, but it’s critical for local economies and transportation. The rail gets its name from its route — running from San Diego through Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo — and moves over $1 billion in goods + 8 million passengers each year.
To keep this railway on track, it needs to be moved away from the bluffs, which can lose up to six inches annually due to erosion. Since 2003, the area from Coast Boulevard to Torrey Pines State Beach has endured four stabilization projects, but these are temporary fixes to a persisting issue.
How will the money be used?
In the next 20 years, the LOSSAN Rail Corridor expects nearly $1 billion in improvements, with the bulk being in San Diego County. The $300 million grant will be used for the Rail Realignment Project, and crews are currently performing the environmental surveying + advanced engineering work required for a long-term solution.
This is an ongoing process, but SANDAG isn’t burying the results of its research. Based on current data, the single track along the bluffs will be replaced with a two-track tunnel system — reduced from the original plan with five tunnels — spanning from San Dieguito to Sorrento Valley.
While the project is moving forward, there are still many stops ahead. SANDAG anticipates LOSSAN Rail Realignment construction will begin in 2028 and the new tracks won’t operate until 2035.
The next step is presenting the final assessment of land in the summer of 2023, which will pave the path for engineers to finalize a design by 2026. North County residents can expect outreach in early 2023 to collect feedback + provide community information. SANDAG will continue sharing updates with people signed up to receive alerts.