Anza-Borrego Desert State Park - Kevin Key Photography
Telephone pole, semaphore, and moonlit train tracks in Carrizo Gorge

Telephone pole, semaphore, and moonlit train tracks in Carrizo Gorge

One of the earliest forms of fixed railway signal is the semaphore. These signals display their different indications to train drivers by changing the angle of inclination of a pivoted 'arm'. Semaphore signals were patented in the early 1840s by Joseph James Stevens, and soon became the most widely used form of mechanical signal. Designs have altered over the intervening years, and color light signals have replaced semaphore signals in most countries, but in a few remain in use.

A few wires still dangle from this pole, but almost all of the rest of the wires have been removed by scavengers.

If you look closely, you can see a tunnel that was painstakingly bored into the mountain when this railroad was constructed almost a century ago.

Near a switch next to the Goat Canyon Trestle on The Impossible Railroad / SD&AE created by John D. Spreckels in 1919.

One almost expects Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner to show up at any moment.

The San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway Company is a short-line American railroad originally founded in 1906 as the San Diego & Arizona Railway (SD&A) by sugar heir, developer, and entrepreneur John D. Spreckels. Dubbed "The Impossible Railroad" by many engineers of its day due to the immense logistical challenges involved, the line was established in part to provide San Diego with a direct rail link to the east by connecting with the Southern Pacific Railroad lines in El Centro, California. The SD&A's 146.4-mile (235.61 km) route originates in San Diego, California and terminates in El Centro, California.

The company took over the SD&A's operations in February 1933 after financial troubles led John Spreckels' descendants to sell their interests in the railroad to the Southern Pacific. Through the years natural disasters and vandalism rendered sections of the line unserviceable, and portions of the line have been sold to various interests.

Around 2004, Carrizo Gorge Railway, Inc. spent millions of dollars repairing the tunnels, trestles, and more and trains begin running on the line once again. Only four years later, in 2008, the line was embargoed. Recently, however, Baja California Railroad has taken over control of this line and plans to restore freight train service sometime in 2018.