Safety and Security: More Active Engagement with Regional Partners Would Improve Awareness of Potential Operational Risks on the Pacific Surfliner Route

December 06, 2021 |  Audit Reports

Our initial objective for this management advisory report was to assess the extent to which the company is evaluating the risks associated with operating service on tracks on the Del Mar bluffs. Because a service disruption in San Clemente in September 2021 involved similar issues along the same route and occurred during our work, we also performed a limited review of company actions in response to that event.


We found that the company met its regulatory obligations in response to Del Mar, San Diego, bluff failures along the Pacific Surfliner route by complying with speed restrictions and track outages enforced by the host railroad. Additionally, the company proactively responded to reports of unsafe track conditions in San Clemente, California, by suspending rail service until it could complete an internal review and seek its own assurances that it was safe to resume operations.


The company, however, is not participating in regional stakeholder working groups focused on understanding and planning both short- and long-term mitigation options to address events like the Del Mar bluff failures. Going forward, Amtrak should consider designating company personnel to participate in ongoing discussions with stakeholders. 

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