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Orange County Coastal Rail Resiliency Study

OCTA is studying rail challenges in south Orange County to assess existing and future environmental risks and issues with operations and maintenance along the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor. The study will evaluate strategies to address these challenges.

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Study Overview

OCTA owns 40+ miles of rail between the cities of San Clemente and Fullerton. This vital link in the 351-mile LOSSAN Rail Corridor is the second busiest passenger rail corridor in the nation and annually carries more than $1 billion in freight throughout Southern California. Between Los Angeles and San Diego, the line is designated as a Strategic Rail Corridor Network by the Department of Defense due to its connectivity with military bases and major ports.

Near heavily populated and built-out residential and commercial areas, this rail line is vulnerable to catastrophic failure due to changing environmental conditions and coastal erosion, rendering passenger rail service inoperable for extended periods. Service suspension has occurred multiple times over the last several years, underscoring the importance of addressing the vulnerability of the railroad.

Study Objectives

The Coastal Rail Resiliency Study (CRRS) will evaluate strategies to protect the railroad in place for up to 30 years and ensure uninterrupted rail operations while minimizing passenger and freight service disruptions. It will include a detailed analysis of seven miles of critical coastal track between Dana Point and San Clemente at the San Diego County line.

Key milestones include conducting an initial assessment to identify and evaluate locations at immediate risk; establishing evaluation criteria to consider potential alternative concepts; developing these concepts, and ultimately presenting draft and final feasibility study reports.

A separate long-term study will look at potential rail line relocation to an inland alignment between San Juan Capistrano and San Onofre State Beach. Given the potential magnitude of this effort, it will require involvement of state and federal agencies. Discussions are underway to determine which agency is best positioned to lead that effort.

coastal rail study map

Study Milestones

Initial Assessment Initiate: Nov 2023
Release Report: Feb 2024
Listening Sessions Winter 2024
Purpose and Need/Evaluation Criteria Draft: Spring 2024
Initial Concept Development Spring to Fall 2024
Obtain feedback from stakeholders and interest groups: Fall 2024
Refinement of Concepts Refined Concepts: Spring 2025
Obtain feedback from stakeholders and interest groups: Spring 2025
Draft Study Report Draft: Spring to Summer 2025
Obtain feedback from stakeholders and interest groups: Summer 2025
Final Study Report Final Report: Fall 2025
Present to Board/Publish Final Report: Fall 2025

Public Involvement

Public involvement is a critical study component and fundamental to shaping its outcome. Listening sessions with stakeholders took place from January to May 2024. Engagement will occur regularly throughout this 24-month study. Check back for updates.

Presentations and recordings of previous meetings are available to view under the listening session schedule section.

Listening Session Schedule

Date & Time
Project Development Meeting Thurs., January 18 – 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
View Presentation: PDF | Video
Stakeholder Working Group Weds., Feb. 14 - 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
View Presentation: PDF | Video
Major Employers, Key Destinations and Business Interests Thurs., Feb. 15 – 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
View Presentation: PDF | Video
Freight and Goods Movement Weds., March 6 - 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
View Presentation: PDF | Video
Emergency Responders Tues., March 12 – 2:00 p.m. to 3 p.m.
View Presentation: PDF | Video
Coastal and Marine Habitat CBO’s – Hybrid Weds., March 20 –10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
View Presentation: PDF | Video
Residential Groups Weds., April 3 – 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
View Presentation: PDF | Video
View Q & A: PDF
Public #1 – Virtual Thurs., April 11 - 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
View Presentation: PDF | Video
View Q & A: PDF
Bluff Residents Listening Session Wed., May 22 - 5:00-6:30 p.m.
View Presentation: PDF | Video
Public #2 – In-Person Thurs., May 30 – 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
San Clemente City Hall
View Presentation: PDF | Audio Recording


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