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Freight Systems

South Line Rail Freight Capacity Project

SANDAG, in coordination with the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), Imperial Valley Transit, San Diego Trolley Inc. (SDTI), the City of Chula Vista, Caltrans, and San Diego Gas & Electric, funded improvements to the San Diego & Arizona Eastern (SD&AE) South Line Railway.

The SD&AE Railway provides an essential connection for the region’s freight operations between the U.S.-Mexico border at San Ysidro, the Port of San Diego, and Downtown San Diego.

The project consisted of improvements on the South Line (MTS Blue Line) in the City of Chula Vista, between J Street and the Otay River Bridge. Improvements included rail and tie replacement, signal enhancements, and construction of a new railroad bridge and new retaining walls. The SD&AE South Line Rail Projects will enable expanded freight operations to meet existing and future growth of freight rail in the region. It is anticipated that this project, in conjunction with the San Ysidro Freight Rail Yard project, will divert about 31,000 trucks to rail annually by 2030.

Project Status

The project was completed in four phases. Phases one and two included installation of fiber cable and bi-directional grade crossing improvements along the South Line railway.

Phases three and four included crossovers and signal improvements, enhancements to the Palomar Street station, and construction of a new bridge and retaining walls at Main Street in Chula Vista. The bridge was built next to the existing bridge on Main Street at Industrial Boulevard.

Construction began in spring 2014, and was completed in August 2016.

Budget & Funding

The project budget was $48.9 million. It was funded through State Trade Corridor Improvement Funds and TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for local transportation projects.

Project Manager

Pete d’Ablaing, Senior Transportation Engineer
Phone: (619) 699-1906, Email:

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or

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