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Surveyors called the San Diego and Arizona Railway (SD&A) "The Impossible Railroad" because of its jagged, mountainous, and brutal desert route. The financier and driving force behind building this binational 148-mile rail connection to the east from San Diego, California, was businessman John D. Spreckels. Because of his perseverance, the jinxed 1907-1919 construction overcame a series of disasters, including the Mexican Revolution, a prolonged lawsuit, floods, World War I, labor shortages, a tunnel cave-in, and a lethal pandemic. Once up and running, the line was intermittently in and out of service and later sold and renamed the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway. While "The Impossible Railroad" still faces constant challenges and partial closures, freight and trolley service currently operate on its right-of-way, and tourist excursions are offered at its Campo, California, depot.
Reena Deutsch, Ph.D., became interested in the railroad after hiking in the desert and finding railroad tracks in the middle of nowhere. Curiosity led her to research the "The Impossible Railroad." Intrigued by its colorful history, she published several articles and presented numerous lectures and slide shows on the SDA. Through her connections with regional museums, historical societies, and private collectors, a pictorial feast of more than 200 vintage photographs has been produced.
Table of Contents
Construction 1907-1917: The Impossible Dream
Carrizo Gorge 1917-1919: Looks Like Heaven, Feels Like Hell
Operations Pre-1932: Finally Rolling à Sometimes
1932: The Impossible Year
Operations Post-1932: Let's Keep It Rolling
Trolleys, Freight, and Tourists: A New Era
About Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.