SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (KABC) -- Officials say it's unclear when rail service will resume between Orange and San Diego counties after a landslide in San Clemente damaged a bridge and sent boulders and debris onto train tracks.
The landslide on Wednesday shut down Metrolink and Amtrak service through the impacted area. Footage captured by a bystander showed the moment the landslide began to damage the Mariposa Trail Bridge, which is positioned next to the tracks.
Orange County and Inland Empire-Orange County Metrolink line trains were only operating as far south as the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station. There will be no alternate transportation to or from either San Clemente or Oceanside.
Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner service from Irvine to Oceanside has also been suspended. Passengers are being offered bus connections between the two locations amid the closure.
Residents and elected officials are concerned but not surprised.
The much-used tracks in San Clemente endured a pair of extended closures last year due to mudslides and debris. The first occurred in April near the Casa Romantica Culture Center and Gardens, blocking the tracks for a month while repairs were completed. Another mudslide occurred in the same general area on June 5, prompting another rail closure that lasted for nearly six weeks.
Repair crews at that time installed a temporary barrier in hopes of preventing debris from future erosion.
Officials say this week's incident will be a larger undertaking because the landslide was on private property and it's on a steeper slope. The bridge will also make repairs difficult.
"Here we have this huge metal bridge that if not taken away, could fall down and severely damage the railroad tracks," San Clemente Councilmember Chris Duncan said.
Officials stressed the need for sustained funding and shared goals to stabilize the hillsides and prevent future incidents.
Due to erosion, much of the funding will be needed to ensure that sand is available year after year.
"We've secured $30 million through the bipartisan infrastructure law for about 1.1 million cubic yards of sand down in Encinitas in Solana Beach, and another $9.3 million for sand here in San Clemente," Rep. Mike Levin, who represents the area, said in a Thursday news conference with local officials.
Climate advocates also stress the situation is part of a bigger picture and a real threat due to extreme weather from climate change.
City News Service contributed to this report.