The sheriff's Department Railroad Enforcement Unit operates out of the Encinitas Station and provides contracted law enforcement services for the North County Transit Distric's (NCTD) 80 miles of rail lines. The "Coaster" unit's deputy sheriffs provide security along the railroad's right-of-way as well as on the commuter trains themselves. This unit has been active since 1995. I interviewed Deputy Sanders who is been assigned to the coaster unit the last four years.
The Railroad Enforcement Unit consists of six deputies, one sergeant, and one lieutenant. Deputy Sander's duties include enforcing trespassing laws, including removal of discarded debris as well as encampments inhabited by homeless persons and day laborers. Joggers, hikers and other "taking shortcuts" are dispersed for their own protection. According to Deputy Sander's people die every year because inattention to rail safety precautions. There have been three deaths related incidents this year according to Deputy Sander's. The unit it's also responsible for accidents investigations including the tracks from San Diego to Orange County line and from Oceanside to Escondido rail corridor.
According to Deputy Sanders, the North County Transit District purchased the railroad right-of way between the Orange County Line and the City Limits of San Diego. This railroad right-of-way is a portion of the Los Angeles-San Diego rail corridor, which hosts Amtrak intercity rail service between Los Angeles and San Diego, Metrolink commuter rail service between Los Angeles and Oceanside, Coaster commuter rail service between Oceanside and San Diego, as well as Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) freight service. As owner of the railroad right-of-way, NCTD is responsible for ensuring that railroad operates safely and efficiently.
The unit receives ongoing training to ensure that maintains high standards. Each deputy has attended "Operation Lifesaver and Grade Crossing Collision Investigation" courses apart from their normal training. Sander's states certified instructors...