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 Mar to the City of Del Mar in lieu of some mitigation efforts.