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Serra Siding Extension Project

About the Project

The project is proposing to extend the existing siding track south by 1.2 miles from Victoria Boulevard to Beach Road in the City of Dana Point. The Project would build the infrastructure to enable regular and frequent passenger service every 30 minutes and eliminate a choke point in south Orange County, which would reduce possible train delays and train idling.

The project also proposes to:

  • Replace wooden ties with concrete ties

  • Replace the single-track railroad bridge over Coast Highway with two single-track bridges

  • Add fencing along Coast Highway

  • Construct retaining walls

Project Benefits

The Project is part of a broader regional transportation plan with realized benefits for local and regional communities. The project would:

  • Enhance Safety – Built in 1928, the aging Coast Highway bridge would be replaced with a bridge infrastructure that utilizes updated engineering standards.

  • Reduce Emissions – A siding track would allow trains to pass each other without stopping, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by idling trains.

  • Foster Strategic Planning – Builds the infrastructure to accommodate increases in ridership due to projected growth in population and employment. Growth in these areas are cited in the Southern California Association of Government’s Connect Socal Regional Transportation Plan and the LOSSAN Service Development Plan.

  • Creates Jobs – The Serra Siding Project combined with other SCORE projects will generate economic prosperity for Orange County and the region. The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) was commissioned to produce a study assessing the impact of the investment of the SCORE Program, which projects 24,400 jobs and $4.9 billion in gross domestic product by 2028 and 396,300 jobs and $173 billion gross domestic product by 2050. This is due to growth in construction employment and increase in regional labor access, which results in labor income and strengthening of regional economic output. Access the full report.

State and Local Studies

The Project is part of Metrolink’s Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program. SCORE and the Serra Siding Extension Project are referenced in the state and regional studies listed below and provide a path toward greater long-term access, mobility and sustainability. Click on the title for the full report.

  1. LOSSAN Service Development Plan: The 2013 Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor (LOSSAN) identified the Project as a valid, long-term (projects completed between 2021-2040) rail improvement project to enhance safety and provide a more reliable, competitive, and attractive intercity travel option for the Pacific Surfliner South Corridor. On page 9-16 of the report: the Project would mitigate potential delays and allow trains to pass each other on parallel tracks in South and North Orange County, rather than holding for opposing trains.

  2. CalSTA TIRCP Awards: Metrolink was awarded $763.7 million in Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) funds in 2018 for the SCORE Program. Page 6 indicates that grant funds are committed for projects such as the Serra Siding Extension Project to deliver more frequent, more reliable rail services throughout Southern California, as well as significantly invest in improving frequency and performance of rail services to Orange County.

    TIRCP was created to fund capital improvements that modernize California’s intercity rail and rail transit systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, expand and improve transit service to increase ridership, integrate rail service, and improve transit safety.

  3. California State Rail Plan: The SCORE Program aligns with the State Rail Plan’s service goal of achieving 30-minute service frequency. The Rail Plan identifies a service goal and improvement to introduce initial integrated service, featuring half hour local service for LOSSAN South, the corridor between Los Angeles and San Diego (pages 143, 153, and 165 of the Rail Plan). The California State Rail Plan establishes a long-range vision for prioritizing state investment in rail infrastructure. The Rail Plan was developed by Caltrans with extensive input from stakeholders, approved by the California State Transportation Agency and accepted by the Federal Railroad Administration.

  4. SCAG’s Connect SoCal: 2020-2045 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)/Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS): The SCORE Program aligns with the Southern California Association of Governments’ (SCAG) Connect SoCal’s goals and strategies referenced on pages 9 and 67. The Project’s purpose is to improve safety, enable more frequent service and provide increased service reliability, which are objectives that are consistent with SCAG’s RTP.