San Diego & Arizona Railway:
The Impossible Railroad
The following one-hour slide (Powerpoint) shows are available for presentation to groups and organizations.
This lecture describes the lengthy history of the San Diego & Arizona (Eastern) Railway starting with the 1906 relocation of visionary entrepreneur John D. Spreckels to San Diego (Coronado). Dramatic details about the challenging 1907-1919 construction and the disaster-ridden operations leading right up to the present time will support why the line was, and still is, called “The Impossible Railroad.” The talk features the “impossible” terrain that was conquered when Spreckels’ line was constructed, particularly in the Carrizo Gorge region, and the “impossible” challenges and adversities that the line overcame and still continues to be plagued with. This lecture includes a “trivia” segment.
This slide show details the foreboding events and warnings, beginning in 1926, that led up to the 1932 abandonment of Carrizo Gorge’s Tunnel #15 and subsequent construction of the famed and enormous Goat Canyon Trestle. Audience members will gasp, and perhaps chuckle, at the SD&A’s lack of responsiveness to cautions and recommendations preceding the impending catastrophe. The presentation is based on unpublished details and photos contained in SD&A documentation that came to light a few years ago. Formerly available images are substantially supplemented with never-been-published photographs of the construction of the tunnel that replaced Tunnel #15 and the new trestle crossing Goat Canyon.
While writing the book San Diego and Arizona Railway: The Impossible Railroad, over 3,000 photographs and images were accumulated, and 1000s of additional photos have been acquired since then. Many of the photographs have been categorized into groupings such as "Steam locomotives," "Mexico," "Spreckels," "Maintenance-of-way and other equipment," "Floods, sub-categorized by year," "Tunnel fires, sub-categorized by tunnel and year," "Aerial views," "Maps," "Track diagrams," "Carrizo Gorge construction," etc. For this interactive presentation, a list of the categories of images is available to the audience who will take turns selecting which image category to see. ALL photos/images under each requested category are projected. Information about some of the photographs is shared when known. Some images are great, others fuzzy.
New!!! Photographs depicting a compilation of four legally permitted group hikes through Carrizo Gorge to the Goat Canyon Trestle from Jacumba in fall 2014 and from the Dos Cabezas area in spring 2015. Many interesting natural and historical sights along the way will be shown and historical narratives will be relayed. Details of the Goat Canyon Trestle will amaze you and probably get your adrenalin pumping.
If you would like to invite author Reena Deutsch to appear at a booksigning, present a slide show and/or lecture, or participate in other book-related events, or have any questions about this, please email
Info [[at]] ImpossibleRailroad [[dot]] com
To go to the Impossible Railroad’s home page, click here.
Last updated September 13, 2017