Creation of the San Diego & Arizona Railway

Trestles through Carizzo Gorge. PHOTO IVDM

This is a centennial year, marking 100 years since the completion of the San Diego and Arizona railway. Better known as the Impossible Railroad for its treacherous stretch of track through the Jacumba Mountains, the SD&A was the first and only completed railway to cross our mountains and desert, connecting San Diego with Imperial Valley and beyond.

This was a difficult task riddled with hardships including the steep mountainous terrain, unstable rock formations, extremely hot temperatures, and prickly desert plants. Its construction is the story of the wealthy and hardworking John D. Spreckels and his triumph in connecting the farms, industries and communities of Imperial Valley with the coast in the face of many adversities.

Creation of the San Diego & Arizona Railway

John D. Spreckels drives in the golden spike. PHOTO IVDM

Creation of the San Diego & Arizona Railway

Workers build a tunnel through the Jacumba Mountains. PHOTO IVDM

Creation of the San Diego & Arizona Railway

Map of San Diego & Arizona Railway, PHOTO IVDM

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