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OCTA Completes South Orange County Rail Project Early

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February 4, 2021

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Addition of passing siding track in Laguna Niguel and San Juan Capistrano reduces rail commuter delays

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority has completed work on a new passing siding railroad track in Laguna Niguel and San Juan Capistrano that reduces delays and enhances safety for rail traffic traveling through the area.

The project added 1.8 miles of new passing siding railroad track between the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Metrolink Station and Trabuco Creek in San Juan Capistrano, running adjacent to the I-5 freeway.

The $36.4 million project was led by OCTA, and built by Reyes Construction, in collaboration with Metrolink and the cities of San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Niguel. Enhanced safety measures were taken during the COVID-19 pandemic and, with strong collaboration between all partners on the project, it was finished approximately three months ahead of schedule.

“Even with the challenges of today's public health crisis, OCTA continues to push forward on important projects – including these rail improvements – to deliver more efficient and sustainable transportation infrastructure for the future of Orange County,” said OCTA Chair Andrew Do, also the county’s First District Supervisor. “Fewer delays and faster trains in south Orange County benefit our entire rail network.”

The passing siding track was constructed adjacent to the existing track, connecting to it at each end, which allows trains traveling in opposite directions to pass each other without stopping. Previously, trains often had to wait for rail traffic traveling in the opposite direction to pass before proceeding.

The new track will reduce delays and provide more reliable rail service for passengers traveling through the region.

Additional improvements as part of the project include:

  • Relocating the existing side branch track, or spur track, south of the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Metrolink Station
  • Improving the private crossing from Camino Capistrano to Saddleback Rancho Capistrano
  • Raising approximately 600 feet of Camino Capistrano near the private rail crossing
  • Paving a small area near Camino Capistrano to accommodate parking for train crews and maintenance personnel

For more information, visit www.octa.net/passingsiding.