By Noel T. Braymer
There is major construction on going in San Diego County to improve and add more rail passenger service. Most of the current projects now under construction in San Diego County are planned to be finished by 2020. Of course the planning for much of this work goes back years. Along with improved service comes new development and economic growth. Recently I had a chance to check out construction at the Carlsbad Poinsettia Coaster Station. This station is already double tracked. But because passengers must cross tracks to get from the east platform to the west platform, this means trains that don’t stop at Carlsbad Poinsettia such as Amtrak Surfliner trains must stop and wait for Coaster trains to depart before entering the station. Needless to say there are plans to run both more Coaster and Surfliner trains in San Diego County.
To eliminate this bottleneck, a tunnel is being built between two tracks at Poinsettia to let passengers move safely between platforms. This will allow trains like the Surfliners to travel through the Poinsettia station without stopping when a Coaster train is stopped there. To do this, a new west platform and track is being built further to the west. What will be built will be a new tunnel between the new west platform and the east platform. The new west platform will be higher (from current 8 inches above the rail to 15 inches) and longer than the current platforms. The east platform will be rebuilt higher to match the new west platform and extended as well. Recent photos I’ve taken can now show how this is being done.
This is a recent glimpse of the Carlsbad Poinsettia Station. The sign shows that the current work at this station began last year in 2018 and is planned for completion by next year. Much has happen in the months since my last visit.
This is a view of the new west platform now under construction from the current west platform. Not only can you see the new platform but also part of the new track for the new platform. In the background can be seen the existing double track looking to the north.
This view is from the east platform at its south end of the extended new west platform now under construction. The question that comes to mind is just how long are the trains stopping here in the future will be? The east platform will also be extended and raised before construction is finished.
This is a vernal pool after recent rains at the Carlsbad Poinsettia station. Vernal pools are basically depressions where water runs down to and stays there with no access to the sea. Much of the times these vernal pools are dry. But they are protected environmentally sensitive habitats which must be crossed over on bridges to the east platform to connect to the station parking lot and bus stop seen on the left hand side.
Here at the eastside of the Carlsbad Poinsettia Station are the ticket machines and a sign warning people of the upcoming shut down of weekend rail passenger service at this and all other San Diego County train stations.
The Oceanside Transit Center opened in 1984. One of the original structures of the transit center is the large awning covering the walkway connecting several of the buildings at the center. While the Transit Center is in generally good shape. It seems apparent that the 1984 awning is over due for repairs.
Since 1984 when the Oceanside Transit Center opened, there has been much new construction built near by. This is about 2 short blocks from the Transit Center of new housing under construction. In 1984 much of this area besides being a freight railroad yard was generally on the seedy side. Now all of downtown Oceanside is seeing more construction as well as remodeling of some of the older buildings. There has been a major increase of new restaurants in the downtown area as more tourists have been drawn to the beach and nearby pier nor far from the Transit Center. This was by design, the plans for which date back to the early 1970’s.
This February bought the groundbreaking for not just one but two new resort hotels near the Oceanside Transit Center, beach and pier. This now vacant parking lot will be transformed into a new Hyatt resort hotel. This project also goes back before 1984 to the 1970’s.
This vacant lot with the old blue house in the background will be the site of a second Hyatt Resort Hotel which will be just across the street to the south of the first Hyatt Resort Hotel which is closer to the pier. The old blue house was used for the filming of the movie “Top Gun”. While not on its original site when the movie was filmed. It will be restored and part of the new Hyatt Resort Hotel. So, are you feeling the need for speed?
This is a view just north of the Oceanside Transit Center of the grade crossing over Mission Ave. This shows some of the other new construction, both resort hotels and housing near the railroad tracks and the transit center. With more people being drawn to downtown Oceanside, the need for better transportation will in major part be met by services at the Transit Center