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BRIDGE TROUBLE SHUTS TRAIN LINE; METROLINK SERVICE TO RESUME TODAY IN NORTHERN COUNTY.

Byline: Teresa Jimenez Daily News Staff Writer

El Nino rainwater flowing in Placerita Creek toppled a cement piling supporting a Metrolink bridge, causing the rail line to cancel service Monday in northern Los Angeles County. Service was scheduled to resume today.

About 3,000 passengers at the Lancaster, Acton, Santa Clarita and Via Princessa stations were taken by Antelope Valley Transit or Santa Clarita Transit buses to a San Fernando Valley station, where Metrolink service continued.

The sunken piling off San Fernando Road between Circle J Ranch Road and 13th Street was found about 6 a.m. Monday morning during a routine rail check, said Mike McGinley, director of engineering for Metrolink.

``We've been monitoring the tracks ever since El Nino,'' said Peter Hidalgo, spokesman for Metrolink. ``This is the first time we've had something like this happen on a Metrolink line.''

The 50-foot bridge, estimated to be 70 or 80 years old, was purchased by Metrolink when it bought the tracks from Southern Pacific Railroad.

Shortly after the purchase, Metrolink installed five concrete support pilings under the bridge. One of those pilings, at one of the far ends of the bridge, tipped over after the creek stream cut deep into the sediment, dislodging it, McGinley said.

``We have to redirect the water to the other side, put the concrete piling back up and put supports around it,'' McGinley said.

The temporary repair will allow the Metrolink line to run through the week, Hidalgo said.

``The safety of passengers is obviously our primary concern,'' Hidalgo said. ``After further evaluation, the structural integrity is such that we can proceed.''

A new bridge will be installed Saturday and Sunday, he said. Metrolink service to Los Angeles has been canceled for Saturday.

The new bridge is a precast model made of cement and steel and will cost $350,000, Hidalgo said.

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos, Map

PHOTO (1--Color in SAC Edition only) Workers found on Monday that rains had toppled one of the five supports for a Metrolink bridge crossing Placerita Creek in Newhall.

(2--Color in SAC Edition only) A Metrolink train sits idle as northern Los Angeles County service was put on hold.

Shaun Dyer/Special to the Daily News

MAP: (Color in SAC Edition only) Railroad bridge damaged by train
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 10, 1998
Words:379
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