Escondido, CA

Presentation recalls San Diego’s “Impossible Railroad”

Dr. Reena Deutsch, author of “Impossible Railroad.”

The San Diego Archaeological Center announces A 100-Year History of San Diego’s “Impossible Railroad,” a presentation and book signing by Reena Deutsch on Saturday, June 8, at 11 a.m., as part of their Second Saturday Series.  The event will be held at the San Diego Archaeological Center located at 16666 San Pasqual Valley Rd., Escondido.  Admission is free and open to the public.  

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In the early 1900s, San Diego was a growing and thriving city, but with no rail transportation eastward. Spearheaded by John D. Spreckels, with his persistence and money, a railroad was constructed that engineers warned would be impossible to build. Starting in San Diego, the “Impossible Railroad” snaked through brutal mountain and desert terrain to connect with the transcontinental Southern Pacific in El Centro. 

It took 12 challenging years to build, but the 1919 completion was widely celebrated. This November is the 100th anniversary of the completion of the San Diego & Arizona Railway which still operates along parts of its 148-mile route. Author Reena Deutsch will give an account of the line’s dramatic history through vintage photos and gripping narration. She will be available after the presentation to sign copies of her book, “San Diego and Arizona Railway: The Impossible Railroad.”

After stumbling upon old railroad tracks in our local desert, Dr. Deutsch researched the colorful history of John Spreckels’ San Diego & Arizona (Eastern) Railway and has given dozens of lectures and wrote a book on it. Prior to retirement, Dr. Deutsch was a UCSD medical researcher. She currently serves as board member for the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association and Balboa Park’s San Diego Model Railroad Museum. This year, she is collaborating with the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the completion of the SD&A.

The mission of the San Diego Archaeological Center is to preserve archaeological collections and promote their educational, scientific, and cultural use to benefit a diverse public.

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