By Noel T. Braymer
Its been awhile since I’ve gone on a train trip, let alone taken any pictures. With 2018 coming to an end I decided to take a quick round trip ride between Oceanside and San Diego. This being winter now because the sun isn’t overhead much of the day but at an angle, some of the pictures from the train have glare. But much of the rail line is a scenic ride in many places. A great deal is going on just in San Diego County with rail related construction. These and a few other projects in Southern California outside of San Diego County as well as projects already finished should lead to increased rail passenger service in the next 2 to 3 years. That is not to say that more work planned in the future won’t be built for even better future rail passenger service. Even so, many of the projects which will be finished soon have been on a waiting list going back at least in most cases 20 years or more.
A major project now underway is at the Poinsettia Coaster Station in southern Carlsbad. This will move the station’s west track and platform more to the west in order to make room to built a pedestrian tunnel between the 2 tracks and platforms. This will eliminate the at grade pedestrian crossings as well as make the station safer as well as allowing more trains to pass through the station. This is one of the projects that will be ready in a year or two.
This is a photo from the train at the Oceanside Transit Center of a short segment of the Coastal Rail Trail in San Diego County. This will be 44 miles long between Oceanside and San Diego when finished. But this will take many years to complete. As more segments of the Rail (bike) Trail are built and connected to other segments more people will ride bikes on the trail. But even now not only cyclists use the trail. Many people also use it to jog, run, travel by wheelchair or walk without dealing with road traffic.
This is another segment of the Coastal Rail Trail this time in Carlsbad. With this picture from the train you can get some idea just how wide the Coast Line railroad right of way is between Oceanside and Solana Beach.
This is construction in the Cardiff neighborhood of the City of Encinitas of what I think is the Coastal Rail Trail. Cardiff is getting a segment of the Coastal Rail Trail along with other rail related construction including double tracking between Cardiff and Solana Beach through the San Elijo Lagoon which will connect 2 sidings into a long stretch of double track. Much of the year, but particularly in summer traffic from autos, trucks and bicycles can be very heavy on the Coast Highway. There is only a narrow corridor along the coast around Cardiff between the Coast Highway on the west, the railroad in the center and San Elijo Ave on the east which ends at the edge of the Lagoon. Just in this area of Cardiff the Rail Trail should reduce some of the traffic congestion when the Coast Highway is busiest.
This is looking west over the San Elijo Lagoon in the background and the almost finished second track in the foreground.
This is the view from the train on the Del Mar Bluffs looking out over the ocean. There have been on going problems with bluff loss in Del Mar which the railroads tracks are next too. The County of San Diego since it bought the railroad in the 1990’s have spent millions of dollars to slow the rate of bluff loss. The county of San Diego is planning to spend another 90 million dollars to shore up the Del Mar Bluffs over the next 20 years. A major factor causing landslides along the bluffs is water. Much work has already been done to improve drainage to prevent water from soaking into the bluffs.
This is construction east of the I-5 freeway roughly just south of Highway 52. In this area a second track on a straighter track alignment is being built for use of Coaster, Surfliner and freight trains. Alongside of these tracks, new tracks to extend the San Diego Trolley Blue Line to the University of California at San Diego are being built to the east alongside of the existing railroad between Old Town and the 52. It is just south of the 52 that the Trolley tracks will be elevated over the existing railroad tracks to the west on a right of way along side the 5 freeway. Further north the Blue line will be elevated again over the 5 to UCSD and latter cross the 5 again heading east to University City.
This is another view of the viaduct under construction to lift the Blue Line west over the adjoining railroad and then along the 5 freeway before heading to UCSD.
Photo of construction from the train of a new grade crossing for a second track over Garnet Ave which turns into Balboa Ave about a block east. Also seen on the right hand side to the east are pillars to support a viaduct for the Blue Line extension.
My southbound train to San Diego was almost standing room only on an otherwise quiet time of the week due to the holidays. But my late morning departure was very busy. This shows part of the crowd of people getting off my southbound train at the Old Town station.
This is some of the new housing being built in downtown San Diego seen from the train. Right next to the apartments are the Trolley tracks. This picture is near the County Center/Little Italy Trolley Station a few blocks north of the Santa Fe Depot which is a major Trolley Hub and downtown train station.
This is at the Santa Fe Depot and something being seen in most major cities is the boom in dockless bike and scooter rentals. This likely is cheaper than building and maintaining docking facilities. I discovered as walked around the Depot areas that at least one company uses a van to pick up not in use bikes and takes them to areas that they hope people will pay to ride to someplace.
Here we are at the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego with the 1915 depot in the front and some of the many hi-rise building in the area seen in the background.