REGION — Rail service remained unavailable in southern Orange County today thanks to a landslide that damaged the historic Casa Romantica Cultural Center in San Clemente and sent dirt and debris cascading down a hillside toward coastal railroad tracks.
Metrolink service was halted Thursday afternoon and remained unavailable Friday south of the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station, leaving no service available to San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente or Oceanside.
Metrolink officials said weekend trains on the Orange County Line will operate as far south of San Juan Capistrano, but there won’t be any alternate transportation, such as temporary bus service, to shuttle passengers farther south.
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Inland Empire-Orange County Line trains on Friday will originate and end at the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station but will extend to San Juan Capistrano over the weekend, according to Metrolink.
Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, which uses the same tracks, suspended service between Irvine and San Diego due to the landslide, although Amtrak officials said some limited service would be available as far as San Juan Capistrano.
The landslide occurred around 1 p.m. Thursday, roughly two weeks after officials at Casa Romantica first reported ground movement that caused some cracks on the property’s concrete terrace facing the ocean.
While slight movement had been continuing over the past two weeks, the ground collapsed by about 10 feet on Thursday afternoon, damaging the Casa Romantica terrace, part of which tumbled down the hillside.
The San Clemente City Council earlier this week approved a $75,000 contract with a geologic contractor to study the ground movement and develop a plan for shoring up the hillside. The contractor was working at the site this week when the slide occurred.
Casa Romantica was red-tagged, or deemed unsuitable to occupation, along with some condominium units in a residential building farther down the hillside. It was unclear exactly how many residents were displaced.
The slide occurred about two miles north of where the Orange County Transportation Authority is finishing up construction to shore up a hillside slope near the Cyprus Shore Homeowners Association in San Clemente, officials said.