What’s To Be Done About Del Mar’s Rail Tracks?

For years, the San Diego region has talked about the need to find a long-term solution for the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) rail corridor. As the only rail connection between San Diego County and the rest of the state and country, it is a vital transit option for Amtrak Surfliner and North County Transit District Coaster riders every year. It also allows freight to move between key ports throughout Southern California without adding to the traffic on the I-5 – a key highway corridor for many drivers in our region.


We have tried short-term fixes for decades. In fact, the next phase of stabilization work (to address the ongoing erosion we see along the Del Mar bluffs) will start early next year. But the California Coastal Commission’s approval of the next phase of the stabilization work was limited to a 30-year period, with the idea that a permanent solution would be implemented.


SANDAG is the agency that is responsible for figuring this out and the next few months will be a key time for the public to have a say in what that solution might be. On November 6, there will be a workshop at the Del Mar Town Hall to talk through where the tracks might be moved. SANDAG staff has also set up a community field office at the Del Mar Town Hall where we are available for certain hours each week for the public to learn more and share their feedback. You can find the hours for the field office, in addition to virtual options to talk with the project team at SANDAG.org/LOSSAN.


One thing we want to make clear is that no decisions have been made yet as far as where the train tracks will go. Based on our research, a tunnel is the best option for the new route because of the geography of Del Mar. We also know that the location of the portals – where the train goes underground and comes back to the surface – will be a big factor in what the route will be. The final decision on where the route will go and what it will look like will not be known until the environmental analysis is complete, likely in 2026.


What we need to figure out now is which routes will be considered as part of the environmental process over the next couple of years. Some of the routes that have been studied so far are shown below but based on what we have learned and are hearing from the community, the project team is continuing to consider additional options now.


We invite anyone who is interested in finding out more to attend our next in-person community workshop on November 6 at 6 p.m. at Del Mar Town Hall. More detailed information about the routes that have been studied is posted online at SANDAG.org/lossan.