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Del Mar cliff crumbles near train tracks following heavy rains

Posted at 2:00 PM, Nov 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-30 16:41:51-05

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) — Part of a Del Mar cliff crumbled, just feet away from train tracks, following heavy rains that battered the county.

Sky10 flew over the affected area Friday, capturing a portion of cliffside hollowed out near train tracks near 13th Street.

Several crews were seen assessing the area. Later, construction machinery was observed in the area as well.

RELATED: Plan to stabilize Del Mar bluffs underway

An Amtrak spokesperson said the erosion is not affecting schedules. However, Amtrak later posted that all train travel between Oceanside and San Diego will be canceled and a bus bridge will be used from 6 a.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday due to "unscheduled track work."

North County Transit District added that, "The heavy rainstorms over the last 48 hours have caused a washout adjacent to the coastal railroad tracks along the Del Mar Bluffs just south of Coast Boulevard which support COASTER, Amtrak, and BNSF operations. At this time, all trains can safely operate at restricted speeds through the area based on site reviews and inspections conducted by railroad engineers."

NCTD also planned bus service starting 6 a.m. Saturday. COASTER passengers will run a regular service from Oceanside to the Solana Beach train station, with passengers taking a bus to Santa Fe Depot in San Diego.

"Northbound COASTER passengers who board the COASTER south of Solana Beach station will be bused all the way to Oceanside Transit Center," NCTD said.

Repairs will be conducted starting Saturday morning and include excavating, setting new steel plates in place, and backfilling with concrete slurry to shore the bluff material and ensure the safety of the bluffs, according to NCTD officials. People nearby can expect "significant noise" from 6 a.m. to midnight.

RELATED: Husband of bluff collapse victim talks mission to stabilize cliffs

In years past, Del Mar and other North County coastal cities have seen cliff failures after bouts of wet weather.

Dramatic video captured a collapse in Del Mar in February, just as a cliff surveyor was taking video of the location. Last winter, several collapses in North County were recorded after another wet winter. In May, a section of Sunset Cliffs was taped off after a collapse.

Then in August, worst fears were realized when a cliff collapsed in Encinitas on beachgoers, killing three people and injuring two others.

Mother Nature's movements now leave beachgoers with more to watch out for and local leaders looking for a solution.

SANDAG is already in the process of a plan to repair seawalls, storm drains, and drainage channels in order to protect the coastline and what's atop it. The project will see about $90 million spent on stabilizing vulnerable cliffside in Del Mar.

Planners are even hoping to construct a tunnel after 2050.