DesertUSA

Southwest Adventure, Living & Travel


Historical Desert San Diego
and Arizona Railroad

The Impossible Railroad and Carrizo Gorge

Map of rail route

The San Diego and Arizona Railroad opened the first modern line between San Diego and the East. The railroad was one of the most expensive ever built in the U.S., costing almost $19 million in 1919. In the Carrizo Gorge, the railroad crosses 14 trestles and goes through 21 tunnels in only 11 miles. From San Diego to El Centro, the railroad rises and falls over 3,700 feet. If ever there was a monument to a builder, the San Diego and Arizona Railroad speaks of the energy, skill and determination of John D. Spreckles and his men, the last of the great railroad builders.

Train Tracks
From the Sacatone Overlook in MaCain Valley you can view Carrizo Gorge RR tracks
Tracks

Railroad Timeline

1873: Population of San Diego 5,000.

1887: Sugar millionaire John D. Spreckles sails to San Diego.

1907: Population of San Diego tops 35,000. Spreckles begins construction of railroad.

1911: Imperial County is created. Mexican Revolution.

1916: Heavy flooding.

1919: First passenger train from El Centro to San Diego.

1920: Avalanche in gorge.

1930: Population of San Diego reaches 148,000.

1932: A four-day fire collapses one tunnel, landslide closes another, a third destroyed by fire.

1940: Population of San Diego reaches 203,000.

1942: U.S. Army patrols railroad for saboteurs.

1951: Last passenger train.

1976: Hurricane Kathleen does heavy damage in Carrizo Gorge. Railroad almost abandons route.

1982: Line closed by storm damage.

1984: Line Closed.

2004: Line reopened, tunnel repaired. Started frieght service to Plaster City.

2008: Line in operation see Ride the Impossible Railway

2009: Tunnel 3 (Lindero) is damaged by a fire.

2011: Carrizo Gorge Railway, Inc (CZRY) discontinued operations of the Tijuana-Tecate segment by the end of 2011.

2012: The SD&AE entered into a 50 year operating lease with the Pacific Imperial Railroad company for freight trains. With this lease, the operating rights of CZRY ended.

2013: They are trying to get the trains back in operation.

Box Cars in Canyon

The two box cars over the side of the Gorge, north of Goat Canyon are SP box cars.
They are empty.
Happened in the late 70s.

Water tower
Old water tower on the way to Ocotillo, Ca.

Other Related DesertUSA Resources

A Ride on the Impossible Railway
McCain Valley Resource Conservation Area
McCain Valley Recreation Area
The Buffalo Soldiers


Share this page on Facebook:


DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)


The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms

SEARCH THIS SITE









 



Dust DevilsView Video about Dust Devils. Born of the battle between the sun and sand, the dust devil is a rapidly rotating column of air that has wrapped itself around a rising thermal. The average dust devil is ten to fifty feet in diameter. The chief ingredients for a good dust devil are clear skies, a bright sun, and a dry hot surface. Click here to view video.

Desert Food Chain Video - A food chain constitutes a complex network of organisms, from plants to animals, through which energy, derived from the sun, flows in the form of organic matter and dissipates in the form of waste heat. The food chain’s biological productivity and species diversification depend on factors such as the daily duration and angle of seasonal sunlight, the timely availability of water, the daily swings of seasonal temperatures, the chemical content of the soils, and the availability of nutrients.
Watch Video

___________________________________

Sand dunes.
What is a desert?
Learn about the camel.

__________________________________

Take a look at our Animals index page to find information about all kinds of birds, snakes, mammals, spiders and more!

___________________________________

 


Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!

DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. Learn about desert biomes while you discover how desert plants and animals learn to adapt to the harsh desert environment. Find travel information about national parks, state parks, BLM land, and Southwest cities and towns located in or near the desert regions of the United States. Access maps and information about the Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert.



 
   
 
   
Copyright © 1996-2014 DesertUSA.com and Digital West Media, Inc.