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General FAQs

General Questions
Where is the fencing being installed and what kind of fencing is it? 

Fencing is preliminarily recommended for installation at three high-priority locations: Del Mar Bluffs from Coast Boulevard to the Highway 101 Overpass Bridge (milepost 244.1-245.5); the City of Encinitas from the La Costa Avenue Overpass Bridge to the Encinitas Boulevard Overpass Bridge (milepost 235.1-237.6); and, the City of Oceanside from Oceanside Boulevard to the Buena Vista Lagoon Bridge (milepost 227.6-228.3). These locations have been preliminarily recommended based on frequency of past incidents as well as an assessment of risk and high-level engineering feasibility. 

NCTD is working with the three cities on the opportunity to implement an alternative fence style, subject to the City assuming liability for increased risks for certain types of fences that do not provide the equivalent safety of NCTD’s engineering standard of a 6’ chain link fence. NCTD will continue to work closely with the cities of Oceanside, Encinitas, and Del Mar to determine which fencing option best matches their community characteristics while minimizing railway trespassing and improving overall safety.  

What is the timeline for installing the fencing? 

Prior to the end of calendar year 2020, NCTD intends to issue a job order to its Rail Job Order Contractor for the installation of right-of-way (ROW) fencing in the City of Oceanside and the City of Del Mar.  The Job Order will include identifying the boundary limits of NCTD’s right-of-way, and the fencing will be installed within the property line and in accordance with the June 30, 2020 Trespasser Risk Reduction Study, Appendix 9. NCTD is coordinating the fence installation with the City of Encinitas project schedules.  NCTD will update this website with a more precise schedule once the job order contract has been issued to complete the fencing work. 

How is the fencing project funded? 

NCTD was awarded $1.2 million in funding for the Railway Safety Enhancement Project through the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP). With matching requirements, the project has a budget of $1.5 million.  There are additional project phases to further enhance safety that will be implemented as funding becomes available. 

Shouldn’t NCTD assume that trespassing is just one of the costs of operating trains? 

Safety is one of NCTD’s top priorities and NCTD’s railroad right-of-way is not a safe place for the general public. State law recognizes this by making it a violation to illegally cross the tracks. There are a significant number of illegal crossing incidents that result in unnecessary incidents, injuries, and fatalities throughout the NCTD service area. As a result, NCTD believes that it is critical to take all necessary actions, including applying federal and state mandates and guidance to prevent trespassing on railroad property, to support the safe and efficient movement of passenger and freight trains and to help keep the public safe.  

Additionally, NCTD purchases insurance to cover up to $295 million for unforeseen incidents – the maximum amount of railroad liability insurance.  The cost to NCTD for this insurance in FY20 was $2.7 million. This represents an increase of 35% over the prior fiscal year, despite NCTD improving safety by implementing positive train control.   

NCTD cannot allow a major event to occur as it may be a triggering event for NCTD to lose this critical insurance coverage that cannot be replaced. The result of many of these incidents is NCTD facing claims and lawsuits impacting insurance coverage. Even successful outcomes from such railroad-related lawsuits require significant expenditures in terms of legal fees, which cannot be recovered even with no liability attaching to the District (or the City).  NCTD is willing to discuss options with the City of Del Mar for transfer of responsibility for claims and liability arising from trespassing events in Del Mato the City of Del Mar in lieu of some mitigation efforts.