A Chicago Train Connecting Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
San Diego and Arizona Railway (1906-1932)
San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway (1933>)

Tijuana & Tecate Railway (Mexico)


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The San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway was a short line that was built from San Diego through Tijuana, Mexico and east and north to El Centro, California. It was constructed in very difficult terrain through the Carriso Gorge to provide a direct link to the east from San Diego to connect with the Southern Pacific. From 1881-1885 the California Southern, later acquired by the Santa Fe, had constructed a line south to

SD&AE
San Diego from the Los Angeles area. When the Santa Fe had removed its back shops to the LA area, San Diego was left as a branch line. John Spreckles was the man behind the plan to provide a direct eastern link for San Diego.
Ground breaking commenced in 1907, and after many serious disasters the road was completed in 1919, to connect with the Intercalifornia Railway at Calexico. The IR took the trains
to Yuma where they connected with the SP and through pullman service to the east was established. The first Chicago Connection was made via the Golden State Limited from Chicago via the Rock Island to Tucumcari, the SP to Yuma and the Intercalifornia and SD&AE to San Diego. Later the connection was direct from the SP to the SD&AE at El Centro. In 1920 a connection was made with the Sunset Limited, on the SP, to New Orleans. In 1943 the Chicago train was changed from the Golden State to the Californian, and in 1947 a second Chicago train was operating, the Imperial. In 1950 diesel-electric power was introduced, and in 1951 passenger service was discontinued. By 1955 the SD&AE was completely dieselized and freight only.(rp)(wik)
Short History of the San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway

San Diego and Arizona Railway (SD&A)
1906 - Spreckels plans to build San Diego and Arizona Railway direct line east from San Diego.
1907 - No financing available.
1907 - First ground breakiung.
1908 - American route too difficult. Route through Mexico and back into states accepted and approved by Mexican Gov't.
1907-1909 - SP agrees to help in financing.
1908-1912 - Various smaller railroads combine to become Spreckels roads, Coronado Railway, National City and Otay, San Diego, Cuyamaca and Eastern, (then San Diego & Cuyamaca), San Diego & Southern. All become San Diego & Southeastern.
1909 - E.H.Harriman, of SP dies. SP pulls out of deal.
1911 - Mexican revolutions slow progress.
1912-1916 - SP lawsuit against SD&A.
1914 - San Diego to Tecate completed. Work on east end in process.
1916 - Disastrous floods wash out much of work.
1917 - U.S.Gov't seizes railroads as war measure.
1918 - 1919 - Work continues as gov't sees need to reach San Diego ports.
1919 - Work through Carriso Gorge completed and line is completer to Calexico connection with Intercalifornia Railway to Yuma and SP.
1919 - Through Pullman passenger service to Chicago through SP-Rock Island connections.
1920 - Through Pullman service to New Orleans on Sunset Limited.
1921 - Mexican Division becomes Tijuana & Tecate Railway.
1933 - SD&A becomes subsidiary of SP and name changed to San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway (SD&AE).

San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway (SD&AE)
1933 - The SD&AE utilizes approximately 108 miles of the original SD&A system, broken into four segments as follows:
1.The Main Line, which runs from downtown San Diego south to the San Ysidro / International Border at Tijuana 15.5 miles h). This line extends through Mexico 44 miles and connects with the Desert Line. The portion passing through Mexico, originally constructed as part of the Main Line, is now owned and operated by the Carrizo Gorge Railway.
2.The Coronado Branch runs from National City south to Imperial Beach 7.2 miles.
3.The Desert Line extends north and east from the International Border junction (referred to as "Division") to Plaster City, where it joins the Union Pacific line from El Centro 69.9 miles.
4.The La Mesa Branch which travels through downtown San Diego east to the City of El Cajon 16.1 miles.
1943 - Chicago train changed from Golden State to Californian.
1934 - The use of three gas-electric units on the SD&AE is discontinued.
1947 - Chicago train added, the Imperial.
1950 - First diesel-electrics arrive.
1951 - Passenger service discontinued.
1955 - SD&AE is completely dieselized as freight only railroad.
1955-1979 - Natural disasters and vandalism made the main line inoperable for practical purposes.
1970 - SP relinquishes control of Tijuana and Tecate Railway Company to one of Mexico's national railways, Ferrocarril Sonora Baja California, S.A. de C.V.
1976 - Hurricane Kathleen destroys major section of track and bridges in the desert line.
1978 - ICC denies SP plan to abandon railway.
1979 - MTA (MTDB) in San Diego buys SD&AE to facilitate creation of trolley lines in Metro San Diego area.
1979 - Kyle Railways, under contract with MTDB operates freight service. MTDB reorganizes SD&AE as a Nevada non-profit corporation. SP retains ownership of the PLaster City to El Centro portion
1980 - Washouts cause displacements in US desert and Mexican portions.
1983 - Kyle service from San Diego to Plaster City restored, then fire destroys two bridges.
1984 - Kyle request to abandon is denied by ICC.
1984 - Railtex contracted by SD&AE to operate San Diego to El Cajon and San Ysidro during trolley off hours as San Diego and Imperial Valley Railroad. (SD&IV)
1984 - Railtex operates freight from SD to El Cajon and San Ysidro during off trolley hours.
1985 - Excursion trains begin to operate from Campo east to Miller's Camp.
1987 - Excursion trains now running from Campo to Tecate, in Mexico.
1989 - SD&IV begins repairs to, hopefully, extend freight service to Imperial County.
1996 - SP bought by UP.
1997 - Carriso Gorge Railway is formed to operate and repair the SD&AE desert line.
2000 - Railtex is acquired by Rail America and changes SD&IV reporting marks to SDIY.
2000 - FNM (Mexico) is privatized and through a series of changes the Carriso Gorge Railway (CZRY) takes over Mexican operation thru a subsidiary. SD&IV retires.
2004 - Freight operations now carried out by the independent Carriso Gorge Railway from National City to the border, through Mexico on it's subsidiary, and in the east from the border to Plaster City and connection with the UP from El Centro, and the La Mesa branch from San Diego to El Cajon.
2008-9 - CZRY places an embargo on the desert line from Campo to Plaster City pending improvements in the line needed to support Mexico's project on the Port of Ensenada's international terminal.
2010 - In January a fire closed tunnel 3 and the Campo-Tecate trips are stopped.

SD&AEmap
San Diego & Arizona Eastern Map


Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April 1940
Railway Historical Society of San Diego(sd)
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, November 28, 2008, revised Oct. 19, 2011