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Full Rail Closure from Oceanside to San Diego Scheduled this Weekend

Significant Rail Improvements to Occur in North County and San Diego

January 11, 2019-- A scheduled closure of the region’s coastal rail line will be in effect this weekend to allow SANDAG crews to work on rail and station improvements, improve at-grade crossings, and connect new railroad tracks near the San Elijo Lagoon. 

The rail closure affects four operators on the San Diego segment of the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) coastal rail corridor: North County Transit District (NCTD), Metrolink, Amtrak, and the freight carrier BNSF.

SANDAG is double-tracking much of the rail corridor to improve capacity for all four operators.

The planned rail closure, called an Absolute Work Window (AWW), will take effect just after midnight on Saturday, January 12, and continue through 5 a.m. on Monday, January 14. AWWs allow crews to work unimpeded on critical railroad improvements throughout the coastal rail corridor.

Regular passenger rail service is scheduled to resume in time for the morning commute on Monday. Riders are encouraged to allow for more travel time on Monday, as trains could be delayed in arriving at their destinations.

In Encinitas, construction crews will repave the Chesterfield Drive rail crossing in areas that would be inaccessible without the AWW and will install technology that will increase rail crossing safety.

Crews also will conduct rail grinding and stabilization work. Rail grinding is a maintenance process that restores and removes irregularities from worn tracks to extend the life of the rails.

The $76.8 million San Elijo Lagoon Double Track project will add 1.5 miles of new double track from Cardiff-by-the-Sea to the southern border of the San Elijo Lagoon. In addition to replacing the ageing wooden trestle bridge over the San Elijo Lagoon with a modern concrete bridge, a new pedestrian undercrossing will be constructed at the southern end of the lagoon. Improvements to the rail signal and grade crossing at Chesterfield Drive also will occur.

The San Elijo Lagoon Double Track project is expected to be complete in late spring 2019.

In Carlsbad, crews will assemble new segments of railroad track during daytime hours (7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.). Nearby residents may experience noise associated with this work.

The $33.7 million Poinsettia Station Improvements project will lengthen and elevate passenger platforms, install a fence between the tracks within the station, relocate a section of the existing tracks, and replace the existing at-grade rail crossings with an undercrossing featuring stairways and ADA compliant ramps on both sides of the tracks. Additional station enhancements will include new shelters, signage, and updated lighting.

The Poinsettia Station Improvements project is expected to be complete by 2020.

In San Diego, crews will work on rail and bridge structures near and within the railroad right-of-way along Morena Boulevard and Santa Fe Street for the Elvira to Morena Double Track project.  There also will be segments of railroad track distributed throughout the site. This project is being constructed concurrently with the Mid-Coast Trolley project.

The $192 million Elvira to Morena Double Track project will add a 2.6-mile second main track from State Route 52 to just south of Balboa Avenue. This new track will connect to existing double track, resulting in 10.3-miles of continuous double track from Tecolote Road to just north of the Old Town Transit Center.

Ongoing construction activities are planned throughout the Mid-Coast Trolley corridor. Crews will continue construction of walls, bridge structures, a temporary access road near Tecolote Road, and overhead contact system foundations. This includes the bridge construction for the San Diego River Bridge Double Track project, which is expected to be complete this year.

During construction, nearby residents and businesses can expect intermittent noise and lights.

Project Manager(s)

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